Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Merry Christmas and A Prosperous and Gourdeous Year Too All
May all God's best be received and enjoyed by those who read this post. Spending Christmas day alone is a first time for me in my sixty-seven years of life. My daughter just went to work at CVS and she was happy too, because she is getting double time. Later today I will have supper with my twin Great Grand Daughters and their Mom. Lord Willing I will get there on time. My wife is in Mexico visiting her aunt's, uncle's and cousins. My other daughters are spending the day at their homes with their family's. This has been one of the strangest holidays I can remember. I have been in perpetual motion since the 21st and got home late last night. Thought I would be taking off again the 26th but my Great Nephew's Other Great Uncle will be bringing him back on Saturday.
This has been a very, very blessed year for me. Many things have happened and I do not know where to start on it all. Financial blessings are always easy to see and remember. Especially when you suddenly become debt free and have your income suddenly rise to meet all your needs and more. Of course I paid some dues to get that benefit. Little did I know that when I was in Vietnam and we were waving at the Air Force helicopters spraying our compound for weeds, we were being poisoned by our government. That is where my blessing came from though. It was my settlement for being exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam. Anyone who is a Vietnam veteran and has a heart condition and is not getting some kind of compensation should definitely apply for the benefits and let the government see if you qualify. It was a total shock to me that I was and had another veteran not told me to apply I might never have received the benefits.
My favorite dog Scruffy died this year. He was about eight years old and went the same way his mom did. Hit by a car. My daughter found him and his sister along U.S. 41. Their mother had been hit by a car. The irony was my daughter was bringing me a couple pet carriers to sell and my second hand shop. The pen I had built for my German Shepherd years before was a ready made home. Our neighbors adopted his sister. Scruff was an awesome dog and was always dragging up pieces of deer carcasses the hunters had failed to find. He had one habit that I could never cure him of. He hated cats and he killed them. We can now have cats and plan to have many as we have a severe mouse problem living in the country. While I miss him dearly I wanted to travel in the coming year and at least this way I don't have to worry about him. He would never accept a collar or chain, which would have been necessary for travel. When I tried to secure him he would always get it off or loose in record time.
Dogs have always been special to me. My first one was Mike, a Cocker Spaniel, he was with me from before I could walk and stayed with me till I was sixteen. Mike was an awesome dog and he hated cars and would chase them. He would actually try to bite the tires. He spent several months recovering from his attacks, but as soon as he could walk again he was back at it. Mike also hated cats, but he made an exception for my cat George. George just showed up one day and stayed a few years. Then he disappeared. He left many of his lineage behind though. He was a bob tailed Manx and one bad to the bone cat. Mike did not like him when they met, but George put three bloody racing stripes across the end of Mike's nose and Mike decided they would tolerate each other and actually became friends. Other dogs in the neighborhood would walk across the street to avoid George. He did not run from dogs. He would actually attack them. One time a German Shepherd attacked Mike and had him on his back. The next thing I knew George was on the Shepherd's back. The last I saw of that fight Mike and George were chasing the German Shepherd down the alley.
My present dog and the only one I have left is Forrest Gump. He was my youngest daughter's dog and she left him to me in her Will. She passed away in August 2010 after a seven year battle with a brain tumor. It seems all my most memorable pets were given to me. It must be some unwritten rule. My Mom had many dogs, but in reality she never had one that was really hers. They were all left with her by my brother. He would get them and then move and not take the dog with him for whatever reason. Mom always had dogs though.
My brother moved in to live with me for awhile and brought two dogs and a cat. I warned him the cat would not survive and less than a week later Scruff made that prophecy come true. He was here for several months and both his dogs died while he was here. He adopted another dog shortly before leaving and Sheba has been with him a couple years.
Why a post mostly about dogs? I guess because dogs always bring good memories to mind for me. Whether it is Mike chasing cars, following me through the woods or keeping my feet warm at night. Most of the memories are good ones. Good memories is what Christmas is about and as I type this and listen to Forrest laying beside me on my bed snoring, I can't help but think of my daughter Glenda and that starts off a whole lot of memories. So I guess dogs are my window to the past. I wish all those who read my blog A Merry Christmas and A Prosperous and Gourdeous New Year. For those who do not
know I am into Gourds as a hobby.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Putting your hand to the Plow
Some things are hard to understand, especially Jesus dealings with people who said they wanted to follow him. He was more merciful to them than God was to Lot’s wife. Lot and his family had been warned not to look back. Yet his wife did look back. She was turned into a pillar of salt. In her case it is easy to see that her heart and desire may have been with the life she left behind. Turning your back and walking away from all that you have ever known is a very hard thing to do.
The real question is, where is your heart? Is it with God? Or is it with the life you presently have? Jesus made it clear, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” At sixty-seven years old I have come to realize that you may not look back, but you will see the consequences of your actions. The first thing you need to do as a new Christian is pray for crop failure of all the wild oats you sowed.
One phrase I have come to understand is that, you reap, what you sow. All the bad things you did will sooner or later be harvested. Sometimes by you or in some cases those you love and care for. You may watch another person raise your child and you have no say so in how your child is raised. Your child may adopt your bad habits or turn against you because of your habits. It may not seem fair, but if it is what you sowed, it is what you will reap. If you were too busy to properly raise your children while making a living, you may raise your grandchildren or great grand-children.
Once you have put your hand to the plow and look back your rows may not be straight. That gives room for weeds or bad seed to grow. If you keep looking ahead you will sooner or later see if you messed up. You plow in circles and eventually you come back to where you started. Hopefully when you do your furrows will be straight as an arrow and you will have no regrets.
Some people believe in the theory of "once saved, always saved" and that you can’t lose your salvation. That is not what Peter taught. He should definitely know the cost of making mistakes. The story of the rooster crowing says we all make mistakes. Where our hearts are at will determine the consequences. He makes it clear if we return to the lifestyle we formerly lived we will be worse off than before we were saved. Second Peter 2:20-22 paints a pretty clear picture that there is a price for falling away. Besides if there is no way you can get kicked out of heaven, what is Satan doing here.
Recently I had a couple of those Peter experiences. I was at a place when a friend asked if I had a flashlight he could use. I told him, “Yes, but the batteries are dead.” They were but a couple minutes later I remembered I had the batteries in my car for it. He had already found one by that time though. Later a man was trying to move a tractor but the battery was dead. There seemed to be something in the air that night. He said he would move it in the morning. I had jumper cables and could have very easily given him a jump, but I had already put all my stuff in the car to leave. I never volunteered my services. A couple more similar instances happened during the same time frame.
So why did it bother me so much. Because I know the Bible and what it says and while I had been offering financial help to the organization these people worked for I had failed to do several simple little things. There are a couple places where Jesus warns those who say they love him, but do nothing. Matthew 7 and 23 both contain stories. It would be easy to sweep these instances under the carpet and no one would see them, or know about them. Yet I would know and Christ knows. I go out of my way to help others and do for others all the time, but sometimes when I could easily do something. I do nothing and that is what Jesus really has a problem with.
If you join the Army and go off to serve your country and things happen at home, you will know about them. Regardless you continue to serve, because it is your duty. It is what you were called to or volunteered for. You are called to give one hundred percent of your service to your country. Even to the point of laying down your life. We may hope to not pay that price, but if it is demanded in the line of duty most who serve will willingly pay it.
The following statements are from Luke 9. “57Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” 58And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” 59Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” 61And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” 62But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Jesus is simply making clear that when we follow him our past is past. As long as we do not turn back to it. It is about what is before us that matters. We are to walk as he walked, giving our all for the kingdom.
Those little things that we fail to do for others may keep them from reaching their goal or doing their duty for the Lord. If we cause that to happen, we have not given our all to Him and His Kingdom. We may cause another to fail who was doing a duty that God had called him to do. It may be as simple as going outside at night to turn on the water so people can shower, cook and provide meals for those in need. You may need a light to do it though. If the mower on the tractor does not mow, maybe a person will not have a place to park. Then they will have to stay somewhere else and maybe not hear the message that would have changed their lives. All those little things we do not have time to do, or are unwilling to do, can add up.
The people where I was at may have been praising me for my help, but I saw the reality. It is the same reality the Lord sees in our daily lives. He knows the truth of what we do and what we could do. It is the not doing what we could do and had the power to do, that will convict us in the end. The next time you see the guy with the sign, “Will work for food.” Offer to buy him a meal and see what his needs really are. If he declines and just wants the money, you are only out the the price of a meal. You may also find a person with a real need that you can really help. You may even get the response I have gotten on more than one occasion. “Oh! You Christians just want to do things so you can feel good about yourselves.” And your offer of help may be declined. At least you offered. Giving $5 and “Have a nice day.” May not be enough in some instances.
When I was still trucking I used to offer to buy a meal for the person sitting on his bags outside the truck stop. Sometimes I bought them a meal and found out their needs and gave them a meal and a few bucks. Sometimes a shower and let them sleep for a few hours in my truck if they were really beat from traveling. Let the Lord lead and guide you, but always be willing to do “All” that you can. That is “All” that he asks. You will never be able to solve all the problems, but you will be more likely to hear the phrase, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the kingdom."
Good News for Christian Truckers
About time there was some Good News for the American Trucker and Christian Truckers in particular. The Road Angel Trucker Centre at exit 68 on I-70 in Illinois is under a new director. The goal of the new leadership is to bring the Centre back to, or to even better, condition than it was years ago. Due to the loss of staff and support the center has reached a point where it is in less than perfect condition. While it may need lots of TLC the basic structures are solid. The shower house is temporarily out of service and meals have not been served on a regular basis in sometime.
Dock Hinman, the new director, and his wife Mary have stepped into the job and accepted the task of putting things back in order. I welcome them and pray my fellow truckers give them plenty of support and a hearty welcome also. To accomplish all that needs to be done will require lots of support. They need spiritual support, physical (labor) support as well as donations of time and finances. At this point the staff is a bit overwhelmed at the task before them. They are setting a plan in order to break the tasks down into manageable goals.
Truckers who have stopped at the Centre in the past are invited to stop in and see how things are going and to offer any kind of support they can. Even prayer support can help at this point as the leadership tries to reconnect with supporters from the past.
Plans are under way for a New Year’s Eve Bonfire and cook out. The goal is to start the New Year out, “On Fire for the Lord”. Truckers who come through the Centre can carry a message of faith and hope to return America to its roots in the Christian faith. There are plenty of limbs down all over the property due to recent wind storms. Truckers are invited to come in and help gather a pile of wood for the bonfire. They can then share the message that the Centre is back and ready for fellowship. With New Year’s Eve falling on a Tuesday this year many drivers may be on the road. If you are on the road or live near the Centre we invite you to join in.
I spent a couple days at the Centre last week and a couple days this week. Hopefully I will be spending a couple days per week at the Centre for some time to come. At my age I am not much physical help, but I try to do what I can to support it. I had a heart attack ten years ago and had not been involved in trucking during that time, but I just received and enormous blessing and am now able to afford to get involved in the activities.
Before I had to quit trucking the center had a fairly large staff and provided meals and showers anytime of the day. They also provided fellowship and a place for truckers to get together build friendships based on a mutual belief in God.
Dock certainly did not take the job for its financial benefits. He did it because he believes in the need for the Centre and its mission of sharing the Gospel with drivers and the local community. He said it is unlike any job he has pursued in the past and has required him to step out in faith. He said as he has done so, he has seen needs answered. He also said it has reinforced his faith and belief. He is sure he will accomplish what he feels he has been called to do.
Dock was a trucker himself for many years. His association with ACT goes back many years. He often stopped at the Petro in Milton, PA and played his guitar at services in the chapel. His home was in Fargo, ND. He spent about nine years in the service and many years overseas, several years of it in Germany. Our paths crossed many times over the years but we never really met that we can establish where we may have met.
The Centre is also looking for three trailers to put out as billboards for the Centre. The goal is to put one at the Centre facing the highway and the other two a few miles east and west. Drivers will be reminded when they are in the area that they are near the Centre. I would like to see billboards all over the country that not only spread the message of Jesus, but let people know the where the Centre is.
You are invited to read this and share it with your fellow truckers. It is not a long time till New Year’s Eve, but we have time to get the message out. If you stop at the Centre say hi to Dock and ask him to let Turtle know the message is getting out. Thanks for reading.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
My Scrooged Birthday
Two months ago today I was notified that I had received my Agent Orange Compensation. I got two years back pay and would receive a check for the rest of my days. The last two months have been a roller coaster ride. Over the course of my life I had heard that old saying you get lucky before you die. Well having technically been dead almost ten years ago that phrase has really struck a cord with me. The 22nd of January next year will be the 10th anniversary of my heart attack. Today is my 67th birthday, but technically I will not be 67 till 11:58 PM as that is when I was born. In fact it was the last time I was early for about anything in my life. They already had my birth certificate made out for the 8th. They crossed it out and changed it to the 7th. This has always made me curious. My father liked to say he was born on the day the war ended and I was born on the day it started. That never bothered me till I got older and started studying the Bible. Then I started seeing it in many things. Even in the order of the books of the Bible. After the Gospels the books were written by Paul, but they are the first books of the New Testament. They are followed by the smaller and more personal books of the disciples who were the first to walk with Christ.
This would not have been so ironic to me if just in the last two years I also had found out I am not at all who I thought I was, or am. I went to the family cemetery. While at the cemetery I discovered several things. One is that I am not of Irish decent, but of German decent. Up until around 1900 all the family headstones spelled the family name Ryon. Only the ones after 1900 spell it the way I have always been taught that it was spelled, which is Ryan. While my family did come to Indiana in 1845 they were members of the Church of the Brethren, which came from Germany to the new world. The fact still stands that my Great, Great, Great Grandfather was born in the United States and probably fought in the Revolutionary War. His wife was born in Pennsylvania. I believe he received a land grant in Ohio for his service in the Revolutionary War from President Thomas Jefferson in 1803. All this is trivia and means very little, but it means the history I thought I knew of my family was somewhat different that I was raised to believe.
The road to discovery was opened when I filed for my Social Security benefits and got my birth certificate from my home county. It seems they believe my middle name is spelled Frederick, but my father whom I was named after spelled his middle name Frederic, which is the French spelling. My grandparents on my mother's side were of French descent with the last name Ferree. When I bought matter to the clerks attention he said they were right and I was wrong. Even though all the records I have throughout my life have been spelled with the Frederic, without the k. To change it would be at my expense according to the clerk. Regardless of what it says on the birth certificate with my little tootsie prints on it and all my family albums that refer to me as Frederic.
Today has been a very strange birthday. I received more birthday congratulations than I ever have in my life. I spent several hours with my Twin Great Grand Daughters and their mother. She made me some home cooked oatmeal and raisin cookies, my favorites. The day started off with an ice and snow storm. Tonight on the way home I had one of those de-javu moments. At the grocery story I ran into the mechanic who worked on my truck at the last company I worked for. He also did work on my trucks after I became an owner/operator. I had not seen him since my heart attack ten years ago.
Shortly after we parted company I was driving home and because of the bad weather and roads I went via a four lane I would not normally take. The last time I did that was on my birthday fifteen years ago and I was supposed to be in Laredo on Monday and to do so I left in an ice storm. My whole family asked me not to, but I did, because if I didn't I could not be in Laredo on Monday. Long story short I laid my truck in a ditch and didn't get to Laredo.
I was eastbound on US 50 and making the turn onto US 41 south. I was told if I got to Decker, which was just ten miles south I would be out of the ice. That didn't happen as because of the ice my trailer decided it wanted to pass me. I managed to come to a stop with my trailer tandems on the shoulder. I thought I was okay but suddenly the embankment gave way and my tail end slid down into the ditch. Just as I had the thought I was going to eat a lot of crow my truck shook. Then it shook again. The load was shifting in the trailer. The shaking got worse and the back end started to go over. I was not moving and I was having a wreck in slow motion. The next thing that happened was my tractor was bulldogged over upside down on the embankment by my trailer. The flying tool boxes and three bags of tire chains I had on the passenger side floor board came flying at me. I was wedged under all that stuff and I could smell diesel. I suddenly realized I was upside down and the noise was my drive line running under not load. I reached up and turned off the lights and engine. After I got oriented I climbed out the passenger door which was now the top and climbed across the tank and down the belly of the truck using the frame rails and drive shaft for steps. When I got to the ground I tried to move to the high side of the curve. I finally managed to do so after crawling on my hands and knees. It was almost an hour before a vehicle showed up. When the sheriff did show up I was almost frozen. Emergency crews showed up and could do virtually nothing as they could not move. One of the firefighters tried to get down to my cab and ended up sliding into the ditch that I had crawled up out of. After several attempts he listened to me and crawled on his hands and knees to the high side just as I had. The state crew finally showed up with a salt truck and had to move around the curve backwards salting his path as he went. That was about fifteen years ago this very evening.
Some people asked me if I regretted making the decision I did as I could have been killed. I have pondered it many times over the years and I still feel I did what I had to do to do my job. Sometimes we make decisions and things go wrong As long as we are doing what we feel we were called to do then we should not have any regrets. As I said this has been a de-javu evening and I have had a lot of things happen in the last couple months and some people have questioned my judgment. All I can say to them is that I have always done what I thought was right at the time during the course of my life and I have no regrets. Some of those decisions were not the best in hindsight, but I will accept what comes from them. They were my decisions right or wrong.
Earlier this week I was at the Association of Christian Truckers Centre in Brownstown, IL at exit 68 off of I-70 and several of us were having a discussion of what we wanted for Christmas if we could get anything we wanted. There were several neat answers, but mine got me some looks. I told them I would like to see my youngest daughter Glenda. She passed away in August 2010 just a few days before her 33rd birthday. I know to see her would come with a price, but I am and would be willing to pay it to see her.
I was looking for a sign that she was with us on Thanksgiving this year. The first year after she passed away I bought her small forsythia tree to our house and as the weather cooled we put it in the kitchen. All the leaves fell off and new ones started growing. On Thanksgiving Day it bloomed with one flower. Each year has had its little token, This year for some reason the squirrels in our yard attacked the tree and ate off all the bark. I was deeply upset about it, but was sure some other sign would come.
Well everybody was late for dinner. My daughter who used to be late all the time, but had overcome the habit, had a relapse. My oldest daughter showed up earlier than her sister. As my oldest she was always the last to arrive on most occasions I considered that my sign. I thought it was funny but some people didn't. Later that evening my oldest daughter went home and for some reason had to go to the store and get something. She is definitely not the type to do a Black Friday sale. When she got in the check out line she found herself behind Glenda's twin sons. We had not seen them in the three years since their mother went home to be with the Lord. Their father would not let us see them. My daughter called me and told me she had the real sign and I agree with her.
Well I am now officially sixty-seven and so I can bring this to a close. There is no reason to believe I will pass away soon, but I wanted to share this story while I could. It may inspire someone else. Just as the butterflies that landed on my wife and I shortly after Glenda passed gave us peace. The blessing I have just received may be the lucky thing or it just may be the blessing it seems to be. It may give me the opportunity to go back out on the road and share in fellowship with Christian Truckers, just as I did for the years I was working.
The point of this whole story is that there are many things we do based on what we believe. The truth however may be a totally different from what we believe. We have to live our lives based on the facts and the truths we do know. As long as we can stand before God and be comfortable that we have walked our lives in accordance with His Word, we owe no one an apology. The only one who can judge whether we have made the right decisions, knows all the facts. He is a just God and I have come up short many times in my life, but I trust in His Mercy and His Grace. Nothing I have done, or ever will. will get me to where I want to go. I will get there only by the sacrifice on his behalf for me. That is the truth that will take us home.
Friday, November 29, 2013
Blessed Beyond Measure
At Thanksgiving many of us like to take measure of the blessings in our lives. Last night as I sat playing a board game with my grandchildren I had a unique experience. Other family members were in the living room watching the prerecorded Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It struck me as funny because till that point I had not realized the difference in this Thanksgiving. The TV had not been on all day and everybody had been enjoying time together.
To me the Macy’s Parade had always epitomized what was wholesome and good about America. Yet as I sat at the kitchen table and watched it unfold something different was happening. Maybe it was just my perspective, but some of the so called entertainment bordered on the decadent. They proclaimed their pride. It made me think of what the Bible says on the matter. Pride goes before the fall. As I watched it I could not help but think of a chapter in the Bible that talks about the Blessings and Curses that befall nations based on their relationship to God. It is found in the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy. Over the years I have seen America move from the totally blessed part of the chapter to the cursed part. It is not my imagination and anyone that takes the time to read it will see what I am talking about.
The irony to me is that it has been one of the most blessed years of my life. It has not been only from a financial perspective, but also from a spiritual perspective. My eyes have been opened to all the real blessings in my life. As I have been cleaning out and reorganizing my room to move a great-nephew in with me it has made me see even more how blessed I am.
Part of getting the room ready to move a fourteen year freshman in with a sixty-seven year old required some serious downsizing. I cleaned out and my dresser and took it to St. Vincent de Paul. Cleaning out the closet I got rid of my leather jacket from my biker days. It was only about thirty years old, but fit my high school senior grandson who just signed up to enter the Army after he graduates. My field jacket which was closer to forty years old fit my youngest grandson. It also required getting rid of tons of other clothes. I had size 38 and 42 jeans in my closet that still had the tags on them. I wear a size 48, down from size 50. Also got rid of all the X, XL, and 2X clothes that I couldn’t or can’t wear anymore.
Then I started on books knick-knacks and other miscellaneous stuff. It ended up being about five boxes this time. Several other boxes went to the Lord’s Warehouse a few weeks ago. People have asked me are you dying. Not any more than anyone else. It is just that I finally realized someone could get some use out of all the stuff I have been hoarding for no good reason.
My wife knows I am trying to lose weight and asked me if I wouldn’t be able to wear the clothes at some point. My answer was simple I will get new ones that fit. That brings me to the other part of my blessing. A couple years ago I filed for compensation for Agent Orange which I was exposed to during my tour in Vietnam. It was finally approved and has required me to make some major adjustments to our lifestyle.
Over the last couple years I have been fortunate enough to have been in the position that I had to give away almost a hundred thousand dollars. No it was not my money. Our church died from attrition. We were down to six of seven people and some Sundays the preacher only had three or four people to preach to. We finally voted to close the doors. It was not because the church did not have the money. We had plenty of money. I have to wonder though if the money had been spent while the church was still alive, if maybe it might have survived. We sold the building and contents and then had to give the money away.
There is a certain irony to this situation as years before I had urged the spending of the money and did not have the position in the church to make it happen, but due to attrition the duty fell to us younger members to deal with the funeral arrangements. It was always ironic to me that the church was dedicated on December 7th, 1941. Yes it was being dedicated at the very moment the attack was taking place on Pearl Harbor. Another factor that added to that irony was that I was born on Pearl Harbor Day in 1946.
The point I am trying to make is that America is such a Blessed nation and yet we about to throw it all away because of greed and incompetence. America is so obsessed with having, but not with sharing. Congress wants to balance the budget on the backs of the poor, by taking away the benefits that people need because of their incompetence.
As a Christian Nation we should understand the third chapter of Malachi. God said he would open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing so great it could not be received. It would only be received though by giving the tithes and offerings required by God. That is something this nation has forgotten about over the last fifty to sixty years. The book of Malachi makes clear that a day of reckoning is coming to any nation that turns its back on God. Saying we are Christians does not make it so. It requires actions to back it up.
The many disasters that have hit America over the last few years have made it clear that the heart of America is still a giving and caring heart. It is the head that is sick and taking America on a path that will end in our destruction. God has always honored His Word. Not only too bless, but also too judge. It is time to wake up and get involved. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Have you ever had the feeling your no longer in charge of your life? That is not a bad thing if you know who is in charge. It is when you are aimlessly wondering that it gets problematic. Then again if you are living according to John 3:8 that is the way things should be. You need to be available to go where you are moved by the Spirit so He can work through you.
The last month and a half my life has been like a roller coaster ride going uphill. I keep thinking I have reached the top and then something else happens and it changes direction, but keeps going up. Yesterday I did not know how I was going to solve a problem in my life and today that problem is solved. Mainly because I followed where I felt the Spirit was leading me.
I was sitting at my desk pondering how I could get hold of someone at the Road Angel and all of a sudden I realized I was doodling on one of their note pads. It had been in my desk for almost ten years. I don’t know when I got it out, but I tried calling and got no one but the answering machine. That in itself was a good sign after ten years. It is a little over a two hour drive from my house. So I hopped in my new car, which is another blessing and another part of this story, and went to the Road Angel Truckers Center in Brownstown, Illinois at Exit 68 off of I-70.
New people have taken over the helm and hope to get the Centre back up and running. It has always been run by donations of time and money given by volunteers. The new staff is determined to bring it back to the ministry it started out to be. Before I had my heart attack, in January of 2004, I used to stop at the Centre often. They used to feed as many as 40 to 50 people at a meal. All the cooking, all the food, and all the work was done totally by volunteers. The parking lot would often be entirely full. My heart sank a little as I pulled into the lot and saw only one trailer with no truck. Then I saw the open sign and all the cars and pickups and realized something was going on.
When I went inside it had changed a lot but the Spirit was still present. I missed the wood burner and the couches in the lounge, but they had a gas fireplace in the Chapel area and I had the opportunity to meet some of the new staff and it was a rewarding experience on both of our parts. We hashed over what we had done in our lives and figured out our lives had crossed paths many times over the years. I also discovered all my years in logistics may not have been in vain. All the work that needs to be done is not physical. Thank goodness at 67 I am over all that. Well I hope to be anyhow.
Having just mixed the concrete and built a thirty-four foot long and three foot high cinder block wall, I can do it if I pace myself. I would just like to think there are younger people who will take up that slack. There is a fence row on the property facing the interstate that needs to be cut down and cut up. They are wanting to put up a new sign facing the highway. The trees would block any view of it, so they have to go.
Water, plumbing and electrical problems need to be addressed just to name a few things on their “to do” list. My main goal in writing this is to let the truckers out there that used to stop at the Centre, it is back. At least it is our goal to see it come back. So if you are trucking on I 70 and are in the area you might want to stop in and meet the people and see what is going on. Or even what they could use your help to get going.
If you get the chance to stop by and say hi to Dock and May Hinman, tell them Turtle said Hi. Well I got to get back on the road and take care of a few more things before the holiday is upon us. Hopefully will be writing more, but then again I plan to spend a few days a week at the Centre trying to help get things off the ground.
Like I tell my wife, “I have absolutely nothing to do since I am retired, and I can’t find time to get it done.”
Monday, November 25, 2013
Beware of Self Righteousness
If we have any righteousness at all in us it comes from God. It is not from anything we have done or accomplished. I had a comment on one of my posts that I would like to share with others. As the person who wrote the post did not have the courage of their convictions I am going to use it as an example. The person chose to be anonymous. That was probably a good decision. As no one claimed the quote I am going to use it to make a point.
Hello: I am in the process of reading your book. The comments about Muslims, Jews and Christians being "family"--well there are only two kinds of people--you are either lost or redeemed. The lost belong to their father, the devil.. The redeemed have been ransomed by the Blood of Christ and they belong to the LORD. As a Redeemed believer, I am not family to the lost. I am family in the Kingdome of God. I pray you have a blessed day. on Is America's Cup Half Empty or Half Full?
First I want to thank the person for reading my blog and hope I do not make them to angry writing this. The second point I want to make is that any and all of our righteousness, if we have any comes from God. I got that from Isaiah 54:16-17
“16Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. 17No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.”
If you take the time to read it you will notice the waster(Satan) was created to serve God’s purposes. Those who believe the once saved, always saved idea might take into account that at one point Satan lived in heaven, but he does not anymore.
As for his concern with the family issue and our relationship to others he might take note. We are all descended from Adam and Eve. Genesis 25:9 says that Issac and Ishmael came together to bury their father. So the Bible even says we are related. That funeral may be the last time we were united, but we are related whether we like it or not.
Jesus said in Matthew 19:19 “we are to love our neighbor’s as our selves. He also said in Matthew 5:20 that if our righteousness did not exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees we would not enter into the kingdom of heaven. The main shortcoming of the scribes and the Pharisees was that they thought they had it all together. Jesus seemed to think otherwise. The verse that changed my life was Matthew 6:15. It is not enough to say the Lord’s Prayer. We have to live it and verse 15 makes that very clear.
We are not called to condemn the lost. They know they are lost in most cases and are not willing to change from their chosen life style. We are called to reach out to the lost. That is something I am not seeing in the commenter’s statement.
It is good to keep in mind Matthew 7:21, where Jesus said that not all that call on his name will be saved. Those who are not walking in his light and doing what he did and commanded are coming up short. They are going through the ritual, but they are not obeying the Word.
The point of my writing , ‘Is America’s Cup Half Empty or Half Full?” was to make the point that we are not going to change the world and make it the kind of place God meant for it to be unless we change how we relate to each other. Jumping up on our soapbox and spewing self-righteous views is not going to help a thing. In fact all it does is increase the hatred and discontent.
When I was in the Army we had a saying, “Your either part of the solution, or your part of the problem.” The comment from my reader says he is part of the problem, not part of the solution. It does not mean he does not care. It just means he needs to look at all his actions.
I learned this the hard way. I used to whiz around the country hauling produce at 75 and 80 miles per hour with a sign on the back of my trailer that said. “Know Jesus. Know Peace…No Jesus, No Peace. One day a person commented that I was not setting a very good example as a Christian. I hate to say it, but he was right. All of our actions reflect our walk with the Lord, especially our choice of Words.
So my main comment to the comment on my blog is simply this. Quit hoarding God’s Love to yourself and share it with others it will change your life.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Reality versus Market
As the stock market passed the 16,000 mark today I had to wonder what the stock market has to do with reality. It definitely can effect a person’s retirement when it crashes. My wife retired in January 2009 and lost almost half of her retirement money. On March 9 of 2009 the market hit a record low of 6547.05. That means the market is almost 2 and 1/2 times what it was at the low point. What it has shown me is that the market has absolutely no relationship to the health of the economy. All it shows is how much someone who is invested in the market might lose if the market crashes again.
As institutional investors have nowhere else to put their money that might make a return on their investment it gets kind of scary. The government has taken virtually no steps to improve the job market or to ensure that the crash of 2008 does not or can’t happen again. It has been basically, business as usual and the scary part of that is that the few actions they have taken may collapse the economy again.
Obamacare has pushed many employers into letting people go, or reducing their hours so they are part time help and exempt from the requirements under the new law. Obama’s statement that people would be able to keep their present health care policies has proven to be one of the biggest lies ever told to the American people.
Millions of people have been forced from the ranks of the ensured as their employer’s figure out how to deal with the transition. Those who have managed to keep their jobs are paying much higher costs for the medical coverage. Thanks to Obamacare. My daughter’s share of the bill went from 10% to 20%. Her co-pays increased tremendously. So did mine and my wife’s co-pays. Where is the savings. Family policies have gone through the roof cost wise.
Millions of Americans are being forced to make the decision of how they will pay the mandatory insurance required by law. Fines and even jail time are threats most Americans take seriously. The very fact that our government has become a threat to our individual freedom might show us something is wrong.
As for the job situation, it does not have to be the way it is. I have bunches of blogs on the topic. Type in the word “jobs” in the search bar on my blog and you will find everything from how to create a job, how to survive without one and what the government can do to fix the problem. You will discover how the government could be preparing for a major disaster that will make Katrina look like a cake walk.
The one thing that can stimulate the economy the most is for the little guy to start spending his money. That is not going to happen as long as the little guy feels insecure about where his future is going. The few actions being taken by the government are only making the problem worse, not better.
It might be a good idea to start looking out for the next economic collapse. It is something that based on what I see going on looks a lot more possible than a recovery.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Agent Orange: Tell a Vet
Sorry it has been so long since I wrote a post. Events in my life have taken a strange turn and I have yet to determine if it is a Blessing or a Curse. I had known for years that I had been exposed to Agent Orange. I spent ninety days of my tour in Vietnam guarding some water pumps for the Air Force. Thirty five of us were sent on this detail. Every so often a helicopter would come out and spray the area around our camp. We used to wave at the crew and they would wave back. Little did we know they were spraying a potentially deadly toxin on us.
About two and half years ago I attended a 4th of July Cookout at my best friend’s house. Many of the people attending were military retirees. I did thirteen years and got out. In the course of the discussion a retired Lieutenant Colonel who was in the Air Force informed me that I was eligible for Compensation because I had a defibrillator. It is one of the side effects of Agent Orange. I did nothing about it till January of 2011. Then I figured what the heck I would at least apply.
After filing much paperwork and taking a physical. Almost two years later I received my Agent Orange Compensation Award. It included back pay to when I initially filed my application. It came to a tidy sum of money and it is all tax free thanks a decision of the Supreme Court. I have been busy the last month putting my affairs in order. Not that I am dying. Well I guess I am, but we all are and will sooner or later. Not only do I now have more money. Now I have paid off the bills I had so I can live debt free and enjoy my remaining days.
The reason I am writing this is that I know many Vietnam Era vets do not know that they are eligible for compensation. The sad part is the government they served knows who is eligible for compensation. The government is following an, if they don’t ask, don’t tell them strategy about the matter. So my goal in writing this post is to spread the word.
Unfortunately this is a practice followed by the government in many areas of compensation. If everybody filed for what they are eligible for from the government the national debt would probably double or triple overnight. This is something I have learned from watching friends and family get help. My twin premature grandsons got no help or compensation from the government. Yet my premature twin great grand- daughters are getting compensation or assistance every month till they get caught up with the average child. The difference is that one set of parents knew about the programs. The others did not. The government certainly does not spread the word. It is the responsibility of the eligible party to apply for the help.
I sincerely hope this helps someone get the assistance they are entitled to. Please share it with any Vietnam Era Vets you might know. Hopefully I will be getting back to writing and a fairly normal life. Sorry for not sharing sooner why I have been gone from writing my blog. Will keep this short so I can write a normal post. Thanks again for reading and sharing.
Friday, October 18, 2013
The Evolution of Trucker Logic
Trucker Logic is usually taught by some guy named Murphy. It is most often learned the hard way. If you are lucky it is at someone else’s expense and not yours. Over the years I have had learning opportunities both ways. Though I no longer drive my experience continues to expand. Murphy never quits and is always ready to teach. Murphy’s lessons are seldom forgotten and often used as teaching models. I heard Murphy mentioned often over the years. The first couple times I saw him in action I was amazed at how something that should be routine can become a teaching experience.
My first experience was in a lumber yard near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was early fall and cold. Another driver and I were removing our tarps so the forklift could get at the load. Our loads were covered with our companies eight foot boxed end tarps. The corners were sewn to make them fit the load better. Each tarp covered half the trailer. Our company used rope ties on the tarps. That is not usually a problem, but when they are wet and cold they can be very hard to untie. I was struggling with mine but my buddy got his undone quickly as he had bought his own rubber straps.
When we entered the lumber yard we drove along the fence on our left and then turned and parked side by side with our back to the fence. We left about twenty feet between the back of our trailers and the eight foot chain link fence so the fork lift could maneuver while unloading us.
As I said my buddy was ahead of me and was on top of his load trying to get the tarp off the load. It was windy and he grabbed some of the ropes that the company had permanently attached to the tarps and wrapped them around his hands. He then whipped the tarp up to loosen it from the load. At the same instance a gust of wind rushed under the tarp and lifted it clear of the load. The tarp snapped loudly and inflated and lifted much like a sail. When I heard the popping sound I turned just in time to see my buddy who was standing on top of the lumber about twelve to fourteen feet in the air being lifted up. He tried to let go but the ropes tangled and suddenly he was airborne.
He resembled Mary Poppins as he sailed over the twenty foot open space and cleared the eight foot fence. He finally landed about twenty feet the other side of the fence. He stood there and did not move. I ran to the gate and back to him and he was still just standing there with the tarp ropes wrapped around his hands. He seemed to be in a trance. I think it may have been shock. Anyhow once he regained his composure we rolled up the tarp and carried it back to his truck. He said the landing was feather soft, but the whole thing freaked him out. It taught me a lesson and I never wrapped the ropes around my hands when unloading.
Some years later I got a refresher course in what can happen when material is flapping in the wind. I now had my own truck and was eastbound on I-70 in Indiana near Greencastle. The cars in front of me were swerving to the shoulder and into the left lane for no apparent reason. Then suddenly I saw it. It was a blanket lying in the middle of the right lane flapping around. It was just a blanket what harm could it do. Evidently having forgotten the preceding story I decided to straddle the blanket. As I said what could it hurt.
I was about to find out it could hurt a lot. The flapping blanket was snatched up buy my driveshaft and whipped around repeatedly. The tail reached into my frame rails and somehow grabbed my air lines and snatched the completely out and tore them off. I lost my air pressure suddenly and barely had time to get to the shoulder and out of traffic before my brakes locked up. Fortunately I was near a truck stop with a shop. A towing bill and repairs came to about seven hundred dollars. Getting it to the shop turned out to be pretty simple. We backed off all the brakes and the mechanic slowly towed me to the shop less than a mile away.
What I learned was that flapping things can be dangerous. Like the truck that passes you with the loudly slapping casing that says he is about to pitch the treads off his tire.
Another time traveling westbound on I-40 just east of Knoxville at night a bread truck driver lost a complete a complete pair of tandem wheels off the passenger side of his vehicle. The tires rolled along the shoulder for some distance before cutting between his vehicle and mine. Then they travelled across the interstate before coming to rest on the south side shoulder. They narrowly missed hitting some eastbound vehicles headon. The ironic part is it took us almost three miles to convince the driver he had lost the tires. He thought we were trying to pull a joke on him.
The point I am trying to make is that things that seem harmless can suddenly become very dangerous in the right situation. The blessing in all these stories is that no one was injured. That was strictly by the Grace of God. They all could have caused serious injury. My reason for sharing them is that they may help someone avoid a similar situation.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
The Shutdown Before The Meltdown
The Retarded Genius’s in Washington supposedly running this country need to get their collective heads out of the collective posteriors. A minority of one party has taken the system hostage. The President needs to threaten to impose a budget by Executive Order. He also needs to threaten imposing martial law if they continue to destabilize the government.
That being said something does need to be done to fix a completely broken system. What would be good for the country is for a few radicals to stand up and say, “We are going to pass a balanced budget amendment “now” and a budget that complies with that view. Yes it is going to hurt, but not near as much as the economic collapse of our nation which is inevitable if actions to fix it are not taken.”
If they do so a few rules need to be put in place that outline what they can cut and what will not be cut. The first rule and the first duty of Congress is to defend America. Anyone who has made that sacrifice for this country should be exempt from any cuts. That includes all active duty pay and benefits, all retiree pay and all disability pay and programs. Without their sacrifice we would not have the nation we have today. They have paid the price for their benefits.
Secondly all Social Security benefits will be paid and are exempt from cuts unless they are cuts made to every member of government starting with Congress and the Courts and must be on a uniform percentage of cutting.
Thirdly and finally the Constitution requires the Congress to look out for the Welfare of the nation. Food banks should be established if necessary and nobody in the United States should do without food. Also no one should die because they can’t get medical care in this country. The Congress will make sure all these requirements are met. Everything else is fair game. The size of the military may be cut as long as it does not affect national security.
So what is a balanced budget? It is not one that only causes the deficits to stop increasing. It is one that expenditures do not surpass income. Realizing that making such drastic cuts will throw many people into the unemployment line it may need to be programmed to be implemented over a five to ten years period, but a budget that achieves that goal must be planned and programmed to take effect in a specified time frame.
It is time to restructure the whole system of government. Especially the tax system so everyone and every business pay’s their fair share. There should be no exemptions for anyone or anything that benefits one person or business over another. All subsidies should be ended. If a business can’t survive in the market place it needs to be revamped so it can.
This may all sound simplistic and idealistic, but if it is not done and soon the collapse of the American system is inevitable. It can’t continue the way it has and is doing at this point. History shows us what happens to countries that try to do so. Sooner or later they implode and collapse and lose their position as world leaders. With no one to step up and take America’s place as the world leader we would be looking at a system of worldwide anarchy.
The present two party system is not going to bring this to pass in America. We need a viable third party. Most of the ones that want the job are no better than the ones we now have in place. It will take a party different than the two parties that we now have. It will have to be a party willing to make tough decisions and stand their ground. That is something lacking in most of America these days. It will also have to be a party that understands the values of America and is willing to work to return to those values.
We need some New Revolutionaries that still look to our original Revolutionaries for ideals and direction to guide this country forward. It they do not appear or step forward this nation is doomed to becoming a third world country if not worse. Congress does not get that Abomnicare is a moot point if the economy collapses. Abomnicare "will" collapse the system simply by draining it of any money that might have helped make it grow. When people are already broke they can't spend what they don't have. When they take money out of their budgets to comply with Abomnicare it is money they might have spent on goods that would have stimulated the economy. Without that stimulus the collapse is not only inevitable but quickened.
Saturday, September 28, 2013
The Abomnicare Government Shutdown
Everybody is worried about the Congress shutting down the government over repealing Abomnicare. If that is the case you can’t see the forest for the trees. The government is going to get shut down either way. This is not rocket science. Most of the Abomnicare insurance plans cost between 14% and 22% of a person’s income. When you remove that much money from greasing the wheels that make America function things are going to start binding up.
The economy is struggling at best to keep going. The numbers are sometimes fair, but never great. The average American is barely surviving and paying his bills as it is. When you take that much money out of his budget the impact will be devastating. It may take a few months to see the full impact, but it is a hard reality.
When you do not have enough to get by something has to go. Many will have to make a choice between eating and paying the mortgage. As I have said in past posts, people will chose to eat.
The only thing holding the economy up is the direct deposits from people’s retirement and 401k plans. When the Abomnicare money starts coming out of their budgets. Those plans will start slowing down. The market is not growing because of investments by business. It is a balloon getting pumped up by retirement funds. If the economy does slow down we will see how robust the stock market is. It will make 2008 look like nothing.
I am not going to rant and rave on my blog or waste a lot of time on this issue. I just can’t believe that the big investment companies have not been backing off knowing it is coming. Or maybe they are not smart enough to see it. I have a post called “The Ripple and Gravity Theory of Economics” It applies in this case. When big money or new inventions are thrown into the economic pool ripples are formed. Sooner or later things will settle down. It may be at a slightly higher level or it may be at the same level. When you pull the plug(take money out of the economy) there is a different effect. The economy will go down the hole gets plugged. That is the simple “Ripple and Gravity Theory of Economics” by Ric Ryan. It works and it explains all the financial turmoil for the last couple hundred years. As I love to say, It ain’t Rocket Scienc
Obama may get his healthcare plan, but American economy will get pu a full scale collapse. I am not smart but when you take some of my money a do not have enough to get by as it is. Something has to give. This is probably the shortest post I have done in ages, but I had to vent, not that it is going to do any good other than maybe a few people will be apple to tighten their belts and ride it out till things settle down again
Obama may get his healthcare plan, but American economy will get pu a full scale collapse. I am not smart but when you take some of my money a do not have enough to get by as it is. Something has to give. This is probably the shortest post I have done in ages, but I had to vent, not that it is going to do any good other than maybe a few people will be apple to tighten their belts and ride it out till things settle down again
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Do Gifts of the Spirit Still Exist?
If you travel much and attend many different churches you will quickly find that most churches are divided into two camps when it comes to the issue of gifts of the spirit. That is sad because the Bible makes clear that if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. Many people take a statement and or a few key words from a statement and say it means one thing. The truth is if you read the whole statement it often may mean the exact opposite.
Satan has used our lack of understanding God’s Word to divide churches and to keep many people in bondage. Much suffering could have been averted if people simply believed what the Bible says. I have one set rule when I read the Bible if Jesus said it, it has to be true. If I interpret it any other way I am going against the Word of God.
So what did Jesus have to say on the matter. John 14:12 says,“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14“If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
Why don’t we see healing in this day and age? Well if you use the Bible it makes clear that Jesus marveled at two things belief and unbelief. In Mark 6 it talks about Jesus going to his hometown. It says even he could not do any great work there because of their doubt and unbelief. He was still able to do some healings of the sick though. It says he marveled at their unbelief. There was another time the Bible says Jesus marveled. It was in Matthew 8 and is found in the story of the centurion. Jesus offered to go to the home of the centurion and heal his servant and the centurion said there is no need to go. If you say it, it is done. It says Jesus marveled at his belief. The Centurion had unquestioning belief that Jesus was able to do whatever he said.
Today’s Christians are somewhere between the two extremes. It is because we listen to men’s interpretations of the Bible instead of what Jesus and the Bible actually say about the matter. Many use 1st Corinthians 13:8-9 to support the view that the gifts ceased with the last apostle. If they read verse 10-12 however they will come to an entirely different view. Those final verses say, “when that which is perfect is come.” Well what is perfect? Christ is the perfect thing that shall come and as he had already been here, it is clear it is speaking of when he returns. Verse twelve verifies that point of view. It says when we are face to face we shall understand clearly. We will not be face to face till Christ returns in glory.
It does say charity will never cease. Why will it not cease? Because those are attitudes and actions we will share with each other even in heaven. Do we have a full measure of charity toward others? Are there people in your life you have issues with? Read Matthew 6:15 and you will understand why you can’t receive the healing you need. It may have nothing to do with you or your attitude, but the attitudes of those you share your faith with.
We all have a terminal illness. It is called life. Sooner or later we all die. Jesus healed many people but they are not still walking around waiting for him to come back. The purpose of Jesus healings was to show the power and glory of God and so they could see who he was. It was not a feel good exercise to get people to follow him. He healed because of the people’s faith. Their faith that he could stop their suffering or the suffering of those they loved. The story in Luke 5 tells about an man’s friends lowering him down through the roof to be healed. It says nothing about that particular man’s faith. It talks about the faith of those who bought him to be healed.
Mark 5 relates another story of healing. Jesus goes to a ruler of the synagogue’s home and heals his daughter. When he gets there some people mock him and tell him he is wasting his time. He takes Peter and the brothers John and James with the parents and enters the girl’s room to heal her. He first kicks out all the other people though. I can’t prove what I am about to say, but I believe it. He removed any doubt and unbelief from the room so he would have his full power to heal. I base that on what happened in his hometown.
If we are sick and we are not healed. It is not because we lack the faith to be healed. God can heal anyone at any moment, but it will be for his reasons and purposes not ours. The Bible says the rain falls on the just and the unjust. Sickness fall’s the same as the rain. It is in and part of this world. We are not exempt because we are Christians. We do have the hope that when we are resurrected it will be to a more perfect body. We will no longer have to fear the ravages of life we will have entered a more perfect state of being.
In closing remember a few things Jesus said , If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believes
5And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.
20Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me
Jesus said nothing about those that come after having a lesser gift. John 17:20 makes clear that Jesus prayed for us who would come later. So what and how you believe is up to you. You can believe to receive. Or you can believe you received a lesser gift than those that came before us. It is our choice. One key is coming to a true and clear meaning of what charity really means.