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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thing$ "I" Learned The Hardway

           Thing$ “I” Learned the Hard Way

      Much of life is about learning things.  Sometimes we learn how to do something.  Other times we learn how not to do something.  Sometimes learning is hard and sometimes it is expensive.  The price or value of learning is sometimes hard to measure.  Often lessons are learnt simply based on Murphy’s Law.  If you are very old you have heard of Murphy.  If you are younger you may not know Murphy by name, but he has probably been involved in some of your learning experiences. What is Murphy’s Law?

     Murphy’s Law states simply that things will happen in certain predictable ways. Basically the worst possible thing that can happen, will happen.  It will also happen at the worst possible moment.  For instance you have new tires put on your truck. As it is time to get your brakes done you get them done also, because you are a responsible person.  You had a brake cam over so you are sure that is the problem. You only have a million four hundred thousand plus miles on your truck.  So you take the risk and spend all your cash reserves to get the work done.

     Proud of yourself you leave the truck stop, freshly showered and in your last clean outfit.  You hit your brakes to turn up the on ramp.  Then the brakes cam over,  again.  You pull over to the shoulder and crawl under the truck.  Of course you left your coveralls at home because it was supposed to be a short week.  They were dirty from greasing the truck and adjusting the brakes.   Regardless you crawl under the truck in the rain and back off the bad brake. Then you go back to the truck stop.  Your goal is to have them fix the brake they supposedly already fixed.  It is at this point you learn all your brake drums need replaced because they have worn so far down.  That is why the brakes kept camming over even with new shoes.

      You resolve yourself to the situation and organize the finances to get the job done.  Only one minor problem comes up.  It seems they only have one front rim and three rear rims in stock.  They have to special order the parts and they will not arrive till tomorrow.  Another problem arises.  The truck is in the shop and the wheels are off.  You discover you can’t sleep in the truck.

   No problem you whip out the handy dandy emergency cash reserve more commonly called a credit card.  The problem is solved.  The problems keep going on and you keep solving them.  The next thing you know you are $120,000+ dollars in the hole.   You are making the payments, but this is no way to run a business. Finally you are reading in the Bible and come across a verse you have read often but never taken to heart.  Well it was at that time I took it to heart.  I said, “Lord, Your Word says we have not because we ask not.  I have never wanted to bother you with my financial problems but I seem to be digging a hole and I need your help and guidance to get out of it. I know I am not supposed to borrow money.  Show me the way to get out of this debt and manage my finances according to your word.”

     A short time later I stopped at a place called The Road Angel Centre, at the northeast corner of Exit 68 off of I 70 in Illinois, which was and is run by the Association of Christian Truckers.  It is a Christian outreach to and for truckers.  It was a place I stopped often when going or coming from the West.  It was where I would get off the interstate and take the back roads to the house.  Loved to sit in front of the wood burner and just kick back and relax and fellowship with other Christian truckers.  It was on one of those stops that my life got turned around.  Not the Christian part, but how I handled my finances.  There were some free books laying there and I took one. It really changed my financial perspectives.  The book challenged me to a new way of looking at my finances.

       The book taught me to not only believe God’s Word , but to take it to heart and put my whole life in God’s hands.  I had given my life to the Lord, but I still wanted to be in charge and often did not give it over to the Lord till I was in a real jam.  The book was “I didn’t Do It, God Did” by a guy named Woody Clark.  He is the owner and head of Woodpecker Trucks in Pendleton, OR.  It was a short easy reading book that laid out how to put your total trust in God and His Word.  The book laid out how God had changed his life and guided his paths.

     After reading the book I started changing how I did my finances and especially how in my relationship to God.  It helped me go from over a $120,000 dollars in credit card debt to being a God dependent Christian.   The latter is a far better situation to be in.  The reason being you learn money is not the answer to your problems.  God is the answer

    There is one small irony in this situation. From 1988 till Thanksgiving Day of 1993 I was a company driver hauling chicken for a meat wholesaler in Vincennes, Indiana from Albertville, Alabama. It meant I passed through Nashville, Tennessee six days a week for that whole period of time. It was my last job as a company driver and allowed me to listen to a guy named Dave Ramsey who was just getting started at the time. His program gave me the foundation to apply what I learned from Woody Clark’s book.

     The problem was not that I wasn’t blessed by the Lord.  If you read my post of 7/4/13 Driving on Prayer, you will see how God can take care of things even when you can’t figure out how.  The problem was as I progressed in my trucking career as an owner/operator I started to think it was more and more about me and how I needed to do things.  One little problem or bump after another happened as I became more and more independent.  When I found Woody’s book I had been just going from bump to bump to bump.   The book made me realize that the reason I was having all the bumps.  It was from not taking things to the Lord. It was from not letting him clear my paths before me.  I was not allowing him to make my way smooth as he promises in His Word, which he had already done without me even realizing that it was happening.

      It amazed me how quickly things turned around when I finally realized where and what the problem was.  Following God is not a part time, when you feel like it thing.  It has to be a 24/7 experience or your only fooling yourself.  I have seen the Lord open doors and take care of things.  In Malachi 3: 9-11God makes it clear if you follow the Lord in the way he says, he will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing you can’t contain.  I truly believe that and can show it from my own life.

     Ten years ago yesterday I had a heart attack.  It is in my 6/23/2016 post.  Just scroll down to where it says TESTIMONY in big letters and you will see why I know it is not all about money. Even after I had to quit driving and had no income God did not come up short.  I had the heart attack on 22nd of January 2004 and did not get my first disability check till August.  I had no savings and no money in the bank.  Yet I never missed a payment or was late on a bill during that whole six month period.

     This all came to mind yesterday the 10th anniversary of my heart attack as I attended the service for one of my church brothers who left that church and went off to pastor another church.  A mutual friend ours who passed away several years ago asked me one time if I had a retirement plan.  I told him that I didn’t.  I also had no insurance other than that provided by my wife’s employer.  He said aren’t you concerned about how you will survive in retirement.  My answer to him was what I truly believed at that time.  “The Good Lord got me this far, I believe he will get me home.  It is in his hands.”  My friend, whose funeral I was at yesterday agreed with me and he lived it till the end. There were four of us in that conversation and I am the only one of us left alive.

    Here is another testimony that is true and I can prove. I only make about $15,000 and year on disability.  Yet over the last two years I have given away over $100,000 dollars.  No it was not my money, but a couple church brothers and myself had to give it away to close the doors on a church that did not live in light of God’s Word.  If the $50,000 the church had in the bank had been used for the Lord’s work, maybe the doors would not have to be closed and the building sold. The irony to me is that I never had a say in the church until the bitter end.  Even though I was in my sixties and had been in the church well over twenty years I was not a senior member till it became time to pull the plug.

    About three months ago my income was quadrupled.  It came about by a chance meeting that I believe the Lord had orchestrated on my behalf.  Yes I had to do the leg work, but he opened the doors.   God handles the details.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

When God Answers

                When God Answers

       Have you ever been so troubled by something you take it to God in the form of a question?  Then have God answer you.  Knowing the answer has to be from God because the answer is so clear and it comes from his Word.  When this happens it truly strengthens your faith.  After a couple of times it gets kind of scary, but at the same time reassuring.  In my well over a half century of life it is an experience I have learned to cherish.  It is like God says, “Yep, I am still here.”

     When I first started trying to follow and understand the Lord there was an issue that deeply troubled me.  If the God I was following was a loving, caring and kind God?  How could he allow what happened to the Jewish people in WWII to happen? After all these were His chosen people.  It troubled me to the point I was having trouble committing my life to following him.  

   When the answer came I knew it was not something I had figured out.  I had read the passage several times and never noticed the verse or what it implied.  It was in the 16th Chapter of Jeremiah that the answer sprang out at me.  It is a chapter that deals with the end time. It talks about God kicking Israel out of their land and then bringing them back.  It was when I got to verse eighteen that the light came on.   It basically says got punished his people before he kicked them out of their land and that he would punish them before he bought them back into their land.  He very simply said he would punish them double for their iniquity.  As bad as it was, God was simply doing exactly what he had prophesied he would do.  This gave me peace knowing he was fulfilling His Word.

     Little did I know this would be the start of a long term revelation to me of things he was doing or had done in the past, which are laid out in His Word.  Things that have a connection to this very day and age, and are unfolding just as His Word had said it would.  The understanding came to me by learning to simply understand that His Word says what it means and means what it says.

     The next verse that caught my attention was in Exodus.  It caught my attention because of the way it was worded.  It says in12:41 “And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.”  Why was it the selfsame day?  What was the significance of that wording? There had to be a reason for saying it that way.  It would be several years later that I found a verse than showed me I was onto something.   The answer was in the Bible somewhere because His Word said so.   Micah 7:15 made me see that it was the fulfillment of a prophecy God had made to both Abraham and Jacob.  He told them both that their people would be returned to their land.  It was a promise that was made several times in the Old Testament.

    Early in my Bible studies I noticed that the children were killed at the time of Moses.  Then again the children were killed at the time of Christ.  Both of these events seemed to happen as Satan tried to prevent God’s people from being delivered from evil.  It made me wonder if there is any connection between the prevalence of abortion in this day and age and Biblical prophecy. When reading in Isaiah 57 it became clear to me that Israel went into the captivity because of their sacrificing children.  Leviticus 20:1-5 gives God’s view on the matter and it may be one of the main reasons America is in such decline.
      “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones. 3And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name. 4And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not: 5Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.”

       The above passage makes it pretty clear that it is not a God thing to kill children.  Therefore it must be a tool of Satan to try and prevent God’s Will from being done.  It was while reading in Amos that I realized that God, according to His Word, had punished or would punish Damascus, Gaza, Tyrus and several others four times.  Using simple logic, if God allowed the other nations four chances?  Then surely he would allow Israel four times as well.  If that is the case then abortion today may be to prevent one last unfulfilled prophecy.  Could it be to prevent the coming forth of the two witnesses to the end time mentioned in Revelation?

       Coming to this realization made me wonder if Exodus 12:41 is correct could there be other periods of four hundred and thirty years.  Sure enough I found one in Ezekiel 4:5-6.  Paul made clear that in Galatians 3:17 that there was a four hundred thirty year period between the captivity and the coming of Christ.  That makes clear that there were three 430 year periods in the Old Testament. 

      In the course of my reading it became clear that there were some seventy year periods also.  Israel was in the captivity for seventy years.  From the birth of Christ to the destruction of the temple was also seventy years.  Both of these events had followed a four hundred and thirty year period.  So where was the seventy year period at the time of Moses?  At first I thought there was not one until I was reading in Joshua and was reading about his death at a hundred and ten years old. Having done all God gave him to do.  It was then I realized that Joshua 14:7 makes clear that from the time Moses sent Joshua in to search out the land till he finished his work was a period of seventy years.  Joshua was forty when Moses sent him into search the land and one hundred and ten when he died.  It is pretty simple math, but it raises a couple of questions?

     If there is a fourth four hundred and thirty period when did it start? And when did/will the fourth seventy year period start.  It was when I was helping my daughter do a paper for school on Martin Luther that the answer may have been discovered to at least one of the questions.  Martin Luther nailed his treatise to the door on All Saint’s Day 1517.  If you add four hundred and thirty years to that date you come up with 1947.  Close but not close enough.  Note that in Exodus it says "to the day." Besides I always thought Israel became a nation in 1948, So I got out the World Book and looked it up.  Yes Israel became a nation in 1948, but it was bought before and voted on in the United Nations in November 1947.  When you allow for the time it took to write the bill and its passage it is very close to the exact date.

      So what does all that mean?  If you add seventy to 1947 it comes out to November 2017, or maybe May of 1948 when they physically possessed the land.  The Book of Daniel talks several times of a period of 1290 days or three and a half years.  Yet in Daniel 12:12 it talks about those being blessed who wait till the 1335th day, which is another 45 days.  The question is when does the 1290 day period start?  If you count back from November 2017 it would be the end of April 2014 to somewhere around November 2014.  The point is not to set a date.  The point is to show that by the Bible’s own timeline we are somewhere near the end of time. Jesus said it would end sometime, we can take that to the bank.  We can also take that he said we would be able to discern the time, but not the date to the bank.

     There are a couple of good indicators why this may be a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.  Daniel 12:4 makes clear that in the end knowledge shall be increased and people shall travel to and fro throughout the world.  Well that all started in the mid 1400’s with the invention of the printing press and beginning of the voyages of discovery, which made it possible to fulfill the commandment Christ gave in Matthew 28:19-20 to, “Go into all nations baptizing and teaching.”
    The final thing that says to me that we are definitely living in the end time is in Revelation 11:9-13 where it makes clear that the whole world shall see the two dead witnesses laying in the streets of Jerusalem for three and a half days.  That definitely could not have happened until just the last few years.

     For those who believe the “Left Behind” version of the end time and things starting with the rapture.  You might want to read Matthew 24:29-30 that clearly says “after” the tribulation of those days, shall appear the sign of the son of man in heaven.  Jesus said at the end it would be as it was in the days of Noah before the flood.  The Bible makes it pretty clear in Genesis chapter six that we are in very similar times.

 These verses make it pretty clear what God says is happening and what is expected of us.

6My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.  7As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame. 8They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity.  9And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings.   10For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the LORD. 11Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.

All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

     For anyone interested there is a free book on my blog called, “Farther Down the Path” and it is done in seven parts and starts on my 3/23/12 blog post.  Yes it has a lot of me in it, but that was not and is not the intent.  My goal was to show people how I came to understand all I have figured out and let them make their own decisions on the matter.  Most of what it talks about is summarized here. Thanks for reading and your comments are welcome…..

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Best and Most Popular. Based on readership

     Thank you, to all those who read my blog. As I enter my third year and look back I have found some posts are more popular than others.  I took the liberty of listing the top 25 most read posts for anybody who might be interested. Ten are trucking related, while nine are faith based, but some of the faith based are centered on trucking experiences.  The balance are personal opinion and financial advice pieces.  There are also two of my favorites that did not make the cut at least on the hit count list. I hope some people will take the time to read some of the ones they may not have read over the years.

       This blog is not advertised and has grown simply on word of mouth.  With over 11,000 hits and in over seventy countries it must appeal to some readers.  For me as a writer it is really enjoyable when a post takes on a life of its own and starts getting hits from all over the world.  The post "You Need No Man Teach You," was my first one to do that.  It did not really catch on till almost a year after it was posted.

       This blog started out giving financial advice.  Having been self employed I wanted to help those who had financial problems.  As I made my living trucking many of my adventures made it into my blog,  Especially as I hope to put them into a book format.  Finally I found many people liked some of the faith based posts I entered and the blog is definitely moving in that direction.  God is the center of my life and my whole reason for being here.  My free book on my blog "Further Down The Path"  is in seven parts and tells my life experiences, but also some Biblical truths that many would find interesting.  Yes there is to much of me in it, but I want people to see and know how I came to understand what I have written.  If you read none of the rest of it, read part seven.  You may learn somethings about the Bible you did not know.  There is a definite pattern and path in the Bible and there is a purpose in what it says.  My personal belief is that we are standing near the final fulfillment of all prophecy.  That is just my view though.

      Thank You Again, for any and all the time you spend reading any of the stories. They will only grow and spread if you share them.  I am not into advertising or selling.  I just enjoy sharing how the Good Lord has Blessed Me.  Especially if it might help someone else.  The two posts that reference 2012 may have gotten much of there popularity due to the end time obsession of many in December 2012. The rest seem to make it on their own merit.

MONEY.. Victory Over Stuffitis  6/13/2012
2012, The Bible versus The Mayan Calendar, Points to Ponder  5/10/2012
MONEY..From Trash to Treasures with Pictures---------How  2/15/2012
Is America's Economy Getting Better 3/21/2012
Deadhead? Or Not? How To Judge 9/14/2012
You Need No Man Teach You 5/4/2012
The Stock Market Balloon<Ready To Pop? 3/4/2013
America What Is Wrong and How to Turn It Around 1/29/2012
Trucker Logic 5/28/2012
America's Greatest Treasure Our Youth 7/13/2012
Beware of Self Righteousness 11/25/2013
A Trucker's Perspective-Why America Is Losing the Manufacturing and Marketing Battle 9/9/2013
My Scrooged Birthday 12/7/2013
The Fiscal Cliff Is Not The Problem,The Debt Tsunami Is 11/29/2012
1984" & Big Brother, A Prophecy or A Reality 2/13/2013
The Shutdown Before The Meltdown 10/3/2013
Building A Hedge Of God's Protection 5/22/2013
2012, Global Turmoil, What The Bible Says, Part 2 8/7/2012
Truck Smarter, Not Harder 5/2/2011
Solving America's Problems 3/1/2013
Have You Ever Made A Leap of Faith? 8/27/2013
Recycled Container For Starting Cuttings 9/16/2013
How To Not Go Down A Hill..or Murphy's Law At Work 11/7/2011
Pot Legalized !!!!..Really? 11/29/2012
How Not To Go Down A Hill-- Vietnam 4/12/2012
How Did The Wealth Meltdown Occur 3/9/2011
Church of the Eighty Foot Parking Lot 8/30/2013