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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Are You Who You Think You Are?



                      Are You Who You Think You Are?

Some people do it their way right to the end. Saturday I drove up to Idaville, Indiana to see my niece. As I crossed the Owen County line on Hwy 67, I passed a State Trooper going the other way with his lights flashing. Behind him was a white pickup truck with an American flag on each mirror.  I saw what looked like a wooden box in the back. When I checked my rearview mirror sure enough there was a coffin in the back of the truck.  It was followed by an extremely long procession of cars and pickups, probably a couple hundred vehicles.  As a retired trucker the whole thing got my mind to spinning.  The rest of the trip was almost uneventful. At least that was what I thought the case would be. In reality it was just the beginning of several strange events.

The reason I was traveling on Saturday was that I wanted to go to a church near my niece’s house.  Normally I would leave Saturday and return Saturday, but is it fall and I decided to turn over a new leaf. Please pardon the pun. The church sign said Church of the Brethren.  Over the course of my life I have been to almost every denomination, including Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon and Seventh Day Adventist to name a few.  This habit started with my Mom who was always looking for the perfect church. If you read my post, “Church of the Eighty Foot Parking Lot” you will get an explanation of why. The thing that generated my interest in The Church of the Brethren was turning sixty-five and needing a copy of my birth certificate.




When I got the certificate I found my middle name was misspelled.  It was Frederick with a “K.” Well it was supposed to be Frederic with no “K.” That is how my Father’s name was spelled and it is the French way of spelling the name.  I knew there was a strong French link in my historical chain. At least on my Mother’s side of the family it is.  In the course of getting the information to get the certificate corrected I found myself in the family cemetery. It was the one for my Father’s side of the family which is at the site of a former Church of the Brethren, which I have since discovered has a strong German heritage.

That was when the shock really came.  All my ancestors up until around 1900 spelled our last name on their headstones Ryon. The thing is that since 1900 it has somehow changed to Ryan.  The first names all matched the census records, but not the last name.  With names like Asa, Asahel and other Biblical names I was sure I was in the right cemetery and at the right graves because of the birth and death dates.  In the course of my research I traced back to my Great, Great, Great Grandfather and found that he received a land grant in Ohio as a member of the Church of the Brethren from Thomas Jefferson for his service in the Revolutionary War which put us in the United States back to at least the 1770’s.

The whole purpose of this genealogy side trip was to explain why I found myself in the Pike Creek Church of the Brethren and the interesting event that transpired. Many would say it was just a coincidence, but I believe in God and there is no such thing as a coincidence.  All that happens in our lives is orchestrated by God whether we understand it at the time or not. So with almost a 140 year Brethren heritage it definitely got my curiosity going.  It was one of the few churches I had not attended over the course of my almost seventy years of life. So maybe this was another circle closing in my life.

 I have had many neat encounters and experiences in the course of my life.  There is an experience I call “A Harmony of the Spirits.” Don’t take that wrong. There is only one Spirit that matters, which is Holy Spirit.  What I mean by it is that sometimes when I travel I am not sure what kind of spiritual environment I am entering into.  Many times over the course of the years I have entered a church or situation of fellowship and found that the Lord prepared my path with His Word, a sermon, tape or even a song I was listening to just before I entered the situation.  The situation I find myself in seems to pick up right where what I was listening to before entering the situation left off. It gives me peace that I am in the right place.

That happened for me at Pike Creek when the Pastor Jason Metzinger had a short story in his message that reminded me of my experience from the day before.  It was about two pastors who became friends during World War I. One was Catholic and the other Protestant and they became very good friends.  As the war progressed the Protestant pastor was shipped to the front lines and killed. Many soldiers knowing of this unique friendship asked the Catholic Priest if the Protestant could be buried in the Catholic Cemetery.  The priest had no problem with it, but the higher church boards said it could not be done.  So the Protestant was buried just outside the wall. Later soldiers came to visit the grave and had heard the grave was outside the wall. When the soldiers said they could not find the grave the Priest pointed it out to them just inside the wall. When asked how it had been moved the Priest explained, “The board may say who is buried in the cemetery, but I get to say where the walls are placed.” It got some good chuckles.

It also reinforced what I have always believed when I visited those churches I knew nothing about.  All the churches claim to believe in and follow Christ. While I may not agree with or understand their doctrines, but I do know some of the people in that church will believe in the same Christ I do.  So I will find fellowship, where two or more of us are gathered together. That is why I attend church in the first place.

On the way home I made a side trip to a place called Turkey Run near Rockville, Indiana.  The first full week in October they always celebrate the Covered Bridge Festival. There is one particular bridge I always love to go and spend time sitting by Sugar Creek on the sandbar and enjoying nature. Then I realized it was another circle closing.  When I got of the Army in 1978, I used my savings account to start a canoe rental service. I had a van and ten canoes and would take student s on the local rivers and then pick them up when they were done and take them back home. In the course of running that business while also being a student I spent a lot of time sitting on river banks contemplating life. Which leads me to another story, but it is too long to put it in this post, maybe later, Lord Willing. 









Events in my personal life make me wonder if we are approaching some major event.  Time will tell, but Biblically I think the stage is definitely being set for some events mentioned in the Bible.




Friday, October 2, 2015

Armageddon Anyone?



                          Armageddon Anyone?

My favorite person from the Bible is Jonah, probably because I spent most of my life running from God just like him, then God poured out his mercy on me and showed me the error of my ways. Most of the years I was trucking I had “Spirit of Jonah” on the side of my hood, along with Proverbs 3:5-6, which you can see if you zoom in on my blog picture.  Gourds are mentioned only a couple times in the Bible, they were thought to be poisonous, but the cook added something and made them palatable. To me it means they are much like the Bible, it is sometimes hard to swallow, but when you read the whole thing it is easier to take.  In Jonah it says after he delivered the message God gave him for the people of Nineveh, he went and sat under the shade of a gourd plant which God provided for him.  Having delivered the message from God he waited to see God pour out his wrath, but the Ninevites repented and so God withheld his wrath. This upset Jonah, he failed to see or understand that he was just as deserving of God’s wrath as the Ninevite’s

     
                As you can see it is possible to sit in the shade of a gourd plant,                                                          Just as the book of Jonah said.

From some of my life experiences I have learned God is still unfolding His Word. Events unfolding in the world indicate to me that we are getting awful close to the end, especially the presence of Russia in Syria.  Having spent thirteen years in the Army I understand basic tactics and what happens in some combat situations. To me the stage is definitely being set for Armageddon. ISIS, not that I have any pity on them, is between a “rock and a hard place.”  As Iraq starts to finally get organized and possibly get assistance from their neighbors may be able to push ISIS north out of Iraq.  With Russia pushing south the question becomes where will ISIS go?

This morning I took the time to look.  Using a Google map you can see exactly where Armageddon is located in Israel and the Middle East. As I zoomed out it became apparent to me that it is the most likely escape route for ISIS when they start feeling pressure from both sides.  It is kind of like being in a tube of toothpaste and putting on pressure.  The toothpaste will escape through the weakest point. As that is not going to be South or North, west becomes the only option.  East would put them in confrontation with Turkey.  Armageddon is near a point where Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria all come together. Should ISIS get squeezed hard between Iraq and Syria their only escape route is to the west.  If you draw a line down the border from Syria across the north side of Jordan it forms a line pointed almost straight at Armageddon, or Megiddo in Israel.

Many people, based on the Left Behind Series, or other misguided thinking believe we will be raptured and out of here before Armageddon.  That is not what Jesus predicted though.  Jesus said there would be no sign except the sign giving by Jonah.  So if I am going to have to try and understand things and be ready, the Bible is the best guide we can have.  If we take the time to read it the timeline is pretty clear.

In Revelation 16:13 it speaks of three spirits.  One is a false prophet which I have come in my mind to associate with the United States and western powers, which profess to believe in Christ, but do not walk in the Light of His Word.  The Beast for me has always been the Soviet Union which claims to be Godless and therefore a beast.  The third spirit eluded me for a long time. Then I realized that the Dragon represents China and Asia. Revelation 9:13-18 makes clear that there will come a power from the East that has an army of two hundred million men.  The only nation on earth that can do that is China.  My question is why would they do that? For years I thought it was for the oil in the Middle East. Then a light came on for me. Regardless of what or why the same chapter makes clear that a third part of mankind will be destroyed. That would be two billion people by today's count.

Israel is known to have nuclear bombs. Have you ever wondered how they tested those bombs to know they work?  The rest of this paragraph is strictly conjecture on my part. In the 1960’s China got the bomb. How did they get it. Did they make a pact with Israel to let them test their bombs if they shared their knowledge. The only pact that could interest Israel in that situation would be a mutual defense pact. Whether it is defense or oil, the time has come where the “Dragon” definitely has reason to have an interest in the Middle East.

The entry of Russia into the Middle East mess does create a problem though.  They say they are there to help stop ISIS. Well ISIS is supported by Iran, and Iran is supposedly and ally of Russia. So if Russia fights ISIS they are fighting their supposed friend.  So is Syria getting played?  Is Russia there under false pretenses? Only time will tell and there does not seem to be a lot of that left.  It definitely pits Russian and American interests into a shadowy situation.  ISIS is a cancerous version of Islam that threatens anything and everything that they come in contact with.  ISIS exemplifies all the worst parts of Islam and stirs trouble for those who profess a peaceful version of Islam. The only solution is the total extermination of ISIS, but it is easy to see, that may be easier said than done.

There are a couple events in the last part of Revelation 16 that still need to happen and will really shake things up, please pardon the pun, as it is not a funny matter. A couple of my older posts address some of the end time possibilities that the Bible makes clear will happen before the end.  While I have been writing this blog for almost five years now, my Bible study has been going on for the better part of sixty.   The last thirty have been the most enlightening to me.  Some of the people I talk to say, “Your obsessed.”  That does not bother me as long as I “KNOW” that it is in line with the Word of God.  My peace comes from God and His Word, not from the things of this world.  Getting back on track, the last part of Revelation 16 makes it pretty clear that there will be an earthquake like man has never experienced before.  You may not be interested in taking the time to see what the Bible says on the matter, but I have, and it is rather scary.  The point to remember, regardless of what the “Left Behind Series” says, Christ made it clear we would go through a period of Great Tribulation before the rapture.  In my opinion that time is imminent.

The recent address of the Pope to the United Nations and his meetings with World Leaders only suggests things are moving forward as the Bible said it would. There are not a lot of things I do know, but one I know for sure and believe you can take it to the bank.  If the Bible says it, it will come to pass, regardless of what mankind’s opinion is on the matter.  So I would keep one eye looking up.


If you have read the Bible at all, it is plain to see prophecy is still being fulfilled. The thing to know is that there is not a whole lot of unfilled prophecy.  The Bible makes it clear when it is fulfilled the end will come, regardless if you believe the Bible or not. My only question is will we recognize the two witnesses to the end time when they show up?  I think we will and what they have to say is not going to make unbelievers happy at all.  It is a big old world, but the focal point of the whole world is Middle East.  Why? Because God said it would be.

Guess it is time to go take a seat under my gourd arbor and wait.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Fixing The Holes in Your Pockets


                 Fixing the Holes in Your Pockets


      Have you ever gotten so busy living, you don’t have time for life. It is really easy to do.  This summer has proven that to me.  I love doing my blog, but I also love helping others and traveling.  This summer I have tried to do it all. When you do that something has to get short changed. This summer it has been my blog and my Lord.  You have to make hay while the sun shines, in my case it is get things built, and see what you want to see before the snow flies.

     When I first came back to the Lord after running for years and having lost everything I had, including family, business, home, car and friends.  My life finally turned around. Having nothing but the time of the day, I started tithing it by reading the Bible two and a half hours a day. I did that for several years.  It was not hard when I was unemployed. The Good Lord provided me with a job driving over the road that still afforded me the time to do my reading.  Gradually as I got back on my feet I tended to stop tithing my time and started tithing my income.  Looking back that was a mistake. I should have kept doing both. The Lord provided both and it was my choice that caused me to drift away a bit.

    Years ago listening to Christian Radio out on the road I heard a sermon by J. Vernon McGee and it impressed me deeply.  It went something like this.  A man came to J. Vernon and said he needed J. Vernon to pray for him.  He explained that he had started tithing some time back and had been truly blessed.  He said he had no problem tithing when he started and his income was $10,000. Then his income went to $50,000 and a $100,000. Then his income finally went to over a million dollars a year.  He said he was having a hard time tithing on so much money and would J. Vernon pray with him on the matter.  J. Vernon said sure and started to pray. “Lord this man had no problem tithing before you blessed him so richly, but now he is. Lord I pray you adjust his income to a level he feels comfortable tithing on.” The man thanked J. Vernon for helping him change his perspective.

   Often when people hit hard times they tend to cut back on their tithe, but in reality that is the last place they should cut back.  If you read in the third chapter of Malachi verses 8-12 the Lord explains clearly that when you fail to honor him, he has no obligation to honor you.  He challenges “us” to challenge him and see if he will not open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing we are not able to receive.  The thing to notice is that we have to rise to the challenge, not cut back. We also need to understand that often times the Blessings come in other forms than money.  He opens doors of opportunity and provides for our health and Blessings on our loved ones.

     What I am saying can be proven from the Word of God.  In Haggai 1 verses three to eleven it makes it pretty clear that the problems we have come from how our relationship with God effect’s our Blessings from him.  I am sure many people can relate to verse six.  I know in my own life experiences that when I have come up short, the problem was my attitude and actions.  It was not God’s short comings, but my own


    I have been retired eleven years now and struggled for some time on Social Security income. It was quite a step down from $150,000 a year to barely $14,000. We never missed a payment though. It was tight for awhile, but blessings come when you least expect them.  A couple of years ago my income quadrupled overnight. I started receiving Agent Orange compensation, for something that happened almost fifty years ago.  

      It has been a challenge, but my goal is to return to reading the way I did back when I was down and out and broke.  It was much easier back then, but God did not promise it would be easy.  He just said we had to obey His Word.  If you do, you will be blessed.  It is as simple as that. God said it in His Word, over and over, and He will do it. Period.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Blessed to Death



Have you ever been blessed to death? In January 2004 I had the big one. Fortunately for me they bought me back from that one.  The link takes you to my testimony of why I feel so lucky to be sitting here writing this eleven years later. It leaves out the events leading up to that day.  About ten years before that day I took all my money out of my savings account made a down payment on a truck and started a business with only the money advanced to me for my first load.  Over the next ten years I truly learned what it means to trust God.  He will guide your path if you give all your trust to him to carry you through.  The first seven years had been really hard, but the last three were truly blessed and I had managed to get into a reasonably sound financial position.  The only down side was in July 2003 when my youngest daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

                    
          Glenda loved Sunflowers, her final request was to have her ashes spread in a                                                       field of Sunflowers
                                  27 August 1977 to 11 August 2010 

     They had scheduled her first brain surgery the first week in August 2003, but they postponed it.  That was a blessing in disguise as she was able to baptize her twin sons at Bible camp.  My oldest grandson was also baptized. Being on the road I missed it all, which is not uncommon when you are a trucker.  The shocker for me was when I returned home and happened to look in the front of my Bible given to me for my Baptism.  My three grandsons had been baptized forty two years to the day after I had been baptized.  Little did I know what was to come further down the path.

    At first I was really confused and troubled at losing my ability to drive, but over time I found God was doing much bigger and better things through it all.  It is only through hindsight that I can see that losing my ability to drive a commercial vehicle would open the door to being there for my daughter and having the opportunity to grow and bond with her during her seven year battle with her brain tumor.  Living through all that gave me the ability to see that God has purpose in all he does. Even if we do not or can’t see it, he is working in our best interests.

    So what does all that have to do with what I am writing now?  Well I am feeling extremely blessed again in my life. Some time back I asked God to guide me into opening the door to help some of my loved ones I care about that had very little chance of making it on their own without his guidance.  Over the last couple years he has been opening those doors and paving those paths to the point I am feeling nervous about being so blessed in my life.

     The Bible verse that states,  ”You have not, because you ask not.” has meant an awful lot to me all my Christian life.  The reason that is so is summed up in a Bible study I did.  It does not say anything new, but it does share and show that God is true to His Word and that he is in fact “the same yesterday, today and forever” Certain events and time frames happen several times in the Old Testament and may even be happening in the time we live in now.

    My understanding in this matter came from simply asking a question of God that truly troubled my heart and made me wonder if I even really wanted to be a Christian. The question was, “If you are a kind, caring and loving God, how could you allow what happened to the Jewish people in World War II to happen as they are your chosen people.” 

    Sometime later I was reading in the book of Jeremiah when God answered my question.  In the 16th chapter God is talking about bringing Israel back into the Promised Land. It was in the 18th verse that he said, he would punish them double for their iniquity. Suddenly a light went on.  He punished them when he bought them out of the Promised Land and he punished them before he took them back. Double, just like His Word said.  That made me start looking at the Bible from a whole new perspective. Suddenly I had peace in the matter.

      There was a quote in Exodus 12:40-41 that had weighted very heavy on my mind for years. The part that bothered me was where it said “the self-same day it came to pass.” Why was it so specific, did it mean something?  Then I came across a verse in Micah 7:15 that says the time of the coming out will speak to the end time. Over the years I learned from study that there were at least three 430 year periods in the Old Testament each was followed by a seventy year period. 

     In the Bible Study it became clear to me that God spoke of giving the nations that surrounded Israel a forth chance in the book of Amos. So it made me wonder if God wouldn’t give Israel a forth chance also.  While helping my daughter with a school paper on Martin Luther, I realized that from the time he nailed his treatise on the door of the church in 1517 till Israel became a nation again was 430 years just like in the old testament. At first I thought Israel became a nation in 1948 and physically that is true, but it was brought before and voted on in the United Nations in November 1947.  That is within a few days of being to the day, but it takes time to write a bill to be proposed and it could very well have been begun at 430 years “to the day”, but I have not been able to prove that.
    One fact that makes me think I may be on to something is that the Dead Sea Scrolls which validated God’s Word over a period of two millennium was discovered between the end of World War II and Israel becoming a nation.
   Why is that so significant?  Is it significant because God gave His Word to the people when they came out of Egypt through Moses.  He also gave His Word to His People when they came out of the Babylonian captivity.  Then finally he gave His Word through Christ before the fall of Israel.  Each time he gave His Word to His People.  It was given again in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
    So are we living in the last seventy year period?  Jesus said clearly we would not know the day nor the hour, but we would be able to discern the time we lived in. Was, or is, there a fourth 430 year period leading up to the founding of Israel? All I can say on the matter is that Israel is back in the Promised Land.  God said it would happen two thousand years ago and now it is a done deal.  So I would say you can take His Word as literal and true and as the old saying says, “You can take it to the bank.”

    A smart person would be looking up for the parting of the eastern sky.  His Word says it will happen and His Word has a pretty good track record. Many people I talk to agree and think the time till the coming of the Lord is short.  I am one of them. My view is based on a vision/dream I had in January of 1967 that made me volunteer for Vietnam. That vision of the end time made me feel that I would be here when the Lord returns in power and glory.  While I may die before I get out of this chair, I have faith I will see the eastern sky part. So let me say with my health issues and having had one experience. I am more worried for others than for myself. Search your heart and share it with those you truly care about. I don't mind the thought of dying, I do hate the thought of leaving and not having shared with those I care about. We can share, but He has to open and prepare their hearts to receive it.  The best thing we can do is surrender the matter to Him.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Church of the Eighty Foot Parking Lot

                  Church of the Eighty Foot Parking Lot  

       Many people have different criteria for a church.  I drove a truck over the road for almost twenty years and had a pretty simple set of standards for a church.  It had to have a parking lot nearby that I could park an eighty foot long truck in.  This often did not allow the luxury of choosing a denomination.  If all Christians are seeking to follow Jesus Christ example in their lives then I should find Christ in any church professing to believe in Him and His Word.  I discovered in the course of my life that is not as easy as it sounds.

       It started for me when I was kid and my Mom took me to church.  She would have been ninety today.  She was a perfect example of a Christian, at least as close as I have seen in my travels around this world.  Not just because she was my Mom but, because she lived it.  She was always looking for the perfect church.  I have attended almost every denomination I know of.  That includes Christian Scientist, Pentecostal and Apostolic to name a few.  Almost every church had at least a couple people who believed and lived the Bible.  Sadly having attended hundreds and hundreds of churches I have only been in a few that I would call true Christian churches.

       If you go into a church you have never attended before most people will be friendly.  The first thing they want to know is what church do you normally attend.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Churches need to protect themselves from unbelievers and ones who cause dissension in churches and then move on. Often it is only so they can pigeon-hole you and put you in the appropriate box.  Many people are not comfortable with someone they can’t figure out.  They have opinions or views of most other denominations and once they can put you in a box they are comfortable.

       Sometimes I have been invited to an individual’s home for a meal, a shower or a place to sleep.  Only in a handful of churches in seventy years has that been the attitude of the majority of the congregation.  The more common practice is to break bread with you and share the cup of fellowship, but after leaving the building I have no use for you till next Sunday.  It is often hard to even find a person to go to a restaurant with.  It doesn’t even matter if you are offering to buy.

         Over my years out on the road I found exceptions to the above statements.
Many truck stops have an old trailer somewhere on the lot that has been converted into a chapel and usually it has a volunteer chaplain.  Christian truckers stuck out on the road tend to migrate to these locations in their off duty time.  It is an awesome experience to have several deeply religious people of different denominations come together to share fellowship.  It can make for some lively discussions and sometimes requires deciding what doctrines and principals are important to you.

       There are a lot more issues than most people would ever consider.  Communion is a big one for many people.  Tongues can start quite a few arguments.  Even whether a person should or should not have a beard can become a major issue to some people.  We tried to come into agreement using the Bible to establish our views.   If we couldn’t agree on an issue, we would lay the issue aside and let Jesus Christ rule.  Matthew 7:15 rules regardless of what our own views are.

       Caring for and sharing with each other and those who are lost is the overriding obligation as a Christian.  The example I had as a Mother gave up her home and most of what she owned to move half ways across the country and help my brother raise his daughter after his ex-wife died.  She often did without.  So they would have what they needed.  When I hear the story of the Widow’s Mites I automatically think of my Mother.  She was the most unselfish person I ever knew.  Her faith drove her life.

       Another person who made a deep impression on me was a lady named Geneva Kleinman.  She raised a ton of kids.  She ran a day care center and she took in many kids full time when their parents abandoned them or fell on hard times.  One of the churches I grew up in, which was her church, helped her with food and bills.  Many people also helped her by volunteering as they could.  She always had fifteen to twenty kids or more.  These were kids who fell through the cracks in the system back in the early sixties.  There were no programs to give her money.  She did it because she had a heart for God.  Those kids never went hungry and they never did without.  They may not have had what they wanted, but they had what they needed and they knew at least one person in the world loved them with all her heart.

       This world needs more Geneva’s.  More people like Mother Teresa.  Regardless of what one thinks of the Catholic Church she devoted her total life to caring for those with needs. The Bible says in Micah 6:8 “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?  James made it clear who Christ taught him to care for. 1:27 says, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, Too visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

        Faith is not about saying we believe the Bible.  It is about acting on that faith when we see a need.  It is about rising to supply that need if it is in our power.  I have seen a church in action that lived The Word as close as any church I have ever seen.  It is in Durant, Oklahoma a town of about 15,000 people.  Victory Life had an attendance of just over a thousand.   Their food bank fed almost 8,000 people a month when I last attended there before I had to quit trucking.  They also had a free tape ministry that gave away free tapes all over the country.  I used to haul boxes of them up to New England and other places.  The labeling and boxing of the tapes was all done by volunteers in the church.  The pastor’s goal was to give away a million tapes a year.  It was a fantastic church and the few times I have asked for tapes since I quit trucking they have been there for me.  It was one of those few churches where people invited me out to dinner or offered me a place to stay.

        There are churches walking the Christian walk.  They are the exception not the rule though.  The secret is that any church can choose to be a Bible and Christ centered church.  It is not about the length of the sermons.  It is about the hearts of the people.  One church I attended had a lady who said she was going to quit when we got a new pastor because he went over on his sermons sometimes.  It messed with her preset oven program.  In almost seventy years of life I have seen many churches, split, wither and die.  We are living in a nation that is following suite because we are not living what we profess.  There is almost a hatred of the poor among many of the wealthy in America today.  Their attitude is as if the poor are parasites who might want to take some of their blessing away from them.  They are forgetting where it came from.

       One pastor I like has a habit of saying.  “If the Lord knows he can get it from you.  He will get it to you.” In other words God blesses those who share their blessings.  The attitude of the wealthy is part of what is dragging America down. They would rather take America’s jobs overseas so they can get more and let the poor whose job they took fend for themselves.

       When I was trucking I used to see people all the time sitting on their bags in a truck stop.  My habit was to invite them to eat with me and let them know up front I was paying.  At least I would be able to feel the person out and know if I needed to help them.  If they needed help I gave them more than enough to pay for the meal and told them to pay the bill and keep the change.  It was not much but it was better than nothing.  At least I knew they were not going to be hungry for a while.

     The last ten years since my heart attack I have had a wood shop in the town where I live.  I would go to a local Amish auction and buy broken or cheap furniture and fix it and sell it cheaper than they would be able to buy it most places.  It is sure to have helped some people.  Recently I sold the building though and need to find a new way to help others.  I met a pastor in New Jersey who used to fix up used cars and plate and insure them and provide them to missionaries to use while they were back home in the states for a visit.  There are many ways we can help others.  Sometimes it just takes opening our eyes and looking around us.  People can reach out to the single mother with a couple of kids.  Why not give her a break to go shopping or do something she needs to do by volunteering to help with her kids.  Little things that cost nothing but your time and can help a bunch

        Sometimes just letting a person know you care and are willing to listen and not share their problems with the world allows them to vent.   That can really lift a person’s spirit.  Especially when they think there is no one who cares.  I have had people tell me they were not going to let me buy them a meal so I could feel good about myself.  That was fine and I honored their wishes, but they can’t stop me from praying that someone is able to touch their life in a good way.

       I have no delusions that I am an awesome Christian.  My wife can get rid of that thought in a couple of minutes.  She knows all my short comings.  She also knows I am trying to be a better person than I used to be.  I have made progress over the years, but it is a never ending challenge to grow and to be better.  We all can be if we just put our hearts and minds to it.

        Next Sunday take the time to get to know one of your church brothers or sisters.  In fact get to know your extended family and maybe take time to meet your neighbors.   That is an area I could use some practice in.  This sounds strange but I live on a road where seven out of twelve of us are truckers, or were.  I met most of my neighbors out on the road in another state from where we live, simply by striking up a conversation or talking on the CB radio.  Something I failed to do at home and having lived next to them for years.  So yes even I need practice at what I am preaching.  Oh yeah and a couple of my neighbors are preachers.  We have talked but I have not been invited to their churches.  Not lately anyhow.  I have attended their churches at least once to show I respect what they do.

       We may be singing out of the same hymnal, but we are not singing together. If we are going to fix America and get it back to where it used to be as a nation that has to change.  As an asocial person that puts the burden of changing on me. It is a step I am willing to try and take.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hope in the Face of Mayhem


                                     Hope Springs Eternal

     It is amazing to me that hope can spring forth from tragedy.  The recent shootings in Charleston, SC made me more aware than ever that hope does in fact spring eternal. It will defeat darkness in the end. The forgiveness offered by the victims and the coming together to remove the symbol of hate shows the power of good over evil. Jesus himself said in the end time it would be as “in the days of Noah.” If you take the time to read the 6th Chapter of Genesis it is a perfect description of the times we are living in today, just as Jesus warned us it would be.

   We all have unforgettable memories in our lives. The Kennedy assassinations, the Martin Luther King assassination, 9/11 and a couple of personal events have imbedded in my mind the fact that evil exists.  However, the events in Charleston made me realize that sometimes goodness can and will in fact defeat evil.

   The recent act of domestic terrorism that happened in Tennessee is definitely nothing new to America. In the course of my life there has been plenty of that.. Murder and mayhem are nothing new. Over 15,000 people are killed every year in America, 11,000 of them by gun violence.  That is equivalent to a small city every year. The media try to slant one event as more important than another. The only change is we now have people encouraged by outside sources to commit acts of terror. Sometimes people are even convinced to kill themselves in the name of religion. The Jim Jones massacre is a classic example.  Evil comes in many forms.  Serial killers take many lives.  It is America’s own unique contribution to evil, though I am sure it happens elsewhere also.

   Many people point to same sex marriage and homosexuality as the signs of our moral decay and weakness in America, but to me the Bible has several other things that God hates far worse than gays.  When God lists the seven evils he hates, gays and adultery don’t even make the list. In fact three out of the seven deal with issues of the tongue.  Reading Proverbs 6:16-20 is enlightening.  Obedience to our parents can keep us from evil.  That point is reinforced in Joshua 1:8. It makes clear that success and prosperity in life are dependent on knowing God and obeying His Word.

   Another place in the Bible it describes who will be punished in the “Day of the Lord’s sacrifice.”  It says all those who wear strange apparel will be judged. Great now what we wear can get us killed.  The question is what is strange apparel?  The only basis I know to figure that out is to look at the clothes they wore in Biblical times. If that is the standard most of mankind is doomed.  I pondered over this for years.  Then when reading a parable by Jesus in Matthew 22 the light came on for me.  The people bidden to the feast did not come and they were killed.  Then the king sent his servants to gather new guests off the street and bring them to the wedding. They bought both good and bad, that was the key that unlocked it to me. They were all brought off the street.  None had time to change into special apparel.  So what did the king see that upset him?.  The verse states that when the King showed up one of the guests was not wearing a wedding garment. That guest was cast into outer darkness. 

     I always thought that was unfair and then I figured out in my own mind what the wedding attire was.  The first people who did not come were the Jews.  The second group was those who followed and believed on Jesus. Their attire was washed in the blood of the lamb.  To me that meant baptism.  The reason I believe that is because he was cast into the outer darkness, which is hell.

   Later after much reading I found another verse in Revelation 11:18 that said the time of judgment of the nations had come. The last sentence kind of stunned me. It placed judgment on and destroyed those who had destroyed the earth. In this day of global warming it is easy to blame it on mankind.  When I read that verse as a semi-environmentalist I had to wonder if it meant all the roads, cities, canals and changes mankind has made to alter the earth to his needs.  The dams, the stripping of the forests from the land, the oil pollution, nuclear pollution, and oceans stripped of the fish and polluted with trash.

     Having found the solution to one threat of destruction in a parable I took another look at the parables in the Bible and came to the parable of the talents. The issue in that parable was stewardship of what the servant had been given. The final one was a bad steward and was cast into outer darkness.  It made it pretty clear to me that we are responsible to properly use what we are blessed with.

     If we want to keep digging we will find that getting tattoos is not permitted and puncturing our body to wear jewelry is not allowed.  Even trimming our beard is a sin.  How much greater is the sin of not even having a beard. We can get as far out there as we choose to do, but really it is pretty simple.  Micah 6:8 lays out the whole duty of man.  I am sure there were gays and every other form of  degenerate behavior at the time of Christ, but he did not rail on them.

   In James 1:27 it makes pretty clear what God does expect of us,’ Pure religion and undefiled before God  and the Father is this. “To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”  That sounds pretty simple really.  The only problem is that we have fallen so far away from God many do not know what it means to be undefiled.  We have reached a point where if anything feels good we feel entitled to do it.  However many of the things that feel good in the moment, will destroy us and our lives in the end.

    Simply reading the first and second chapters of Romans makes it pretty clear what is wrong with the world today.  It says God will eventually give man over to evil choices and they will come into judgment for their actions.  It does not take a rocket scientist to see that we have reached that point.  A person who does not wish to be judged has only one option and that is to live a good life and pray God delivers us from the evil around us.

      God does not hide what is right and wrong from us.  Anyone who will take the time to read the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy can clearly see what God says he will do for those who follow him and those who don’t. While America may have been on the Blessing side of the page at one point, it is easy and clear to see that we have slid to the cursed side.  The sad part is that judgment is just around the corner and most do not realize it.

     Most of those living lives of corruption admit they are living wrong, but choose to continue doing so.  I have not pity on those people while I do pray for them. The ones I do have pity on and feel for are the children who will be swept up in it all. When a tsunami hits, or a Katrina,  or even a 9/11 situation children are swept up in the destruction,  but it is often because of the bad choices of their elders.  My heart goes out to them and my prayers that God will spare them.  God will do what is just and what is right, regardless of how we see it.  What befalls most of us is by the decisions and choices we make in life.

    My only purpose and hope in writing this is that someone who does not know what they are doing, or someone who does, will open their eyes and see they have the opportunity to make the choice that can change their life. It is solely up to each of us to do so.


     So what makes me think we are near the end?  In Luke 24 Jesus is laying out what will happen after he is gone. In verse 6 he says they will hear of this and that, yet when you get down to verse 33 he changes from hearing to seeing.  I do not think it was a grammatical error.  It was an intentional change that could clearly be seen by those willing to look.  Are you looking up.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Coming Full Circle




                   Coming Full Circle

Recently I have had to take time and reflect on things in life.  Following God is something I do when I am not busy doing my own thing. Which is normally running away from him.  It is a part of my being and a big part of my life story.  It has been an awesome experience.  Taking everything I do to God is almost second nature.  It took me a long time to learn to sit and wait if God didn’t move me.  However, last fall I came to a situation and I wanted to move, only God was saying sit. I wanted things to happen and they weren’t happening.

It is not that I am not willing to sit and wait till I hear God in a situation.  The day before Thanksgiving in 1993 I got laid off with no warning. I decided I was not moving till I was sure God was in it. The Friday after Thanksgiving I was offered a job but was not sure God was in it. I sat at home on unemployment till April and was getting a little nervous and thinking maybe I missed God in the matter.  When the job did come it was the same one, from the same person, but this time the Lord bought him to me. I told the guy okay, but also told him if I felt moved by God to go elsewhere, I was gone.  It went fine for six months and the door was opened to me having my own truck and traveling all of the United States and Canada. At least till God slammed that door ten years later, which is a big part of my testimony.

It is clear to me now that the reason my barn was not moving along was not because I was building it.  It was one of the first projects in my life that I had the cash in hand upfront. The problem was the why I was building it. I was trying to go back to doing something God had opened the door to and then ten years later closed.   The two links are basically a testimony of some of my experiences with God.  The fact I am here today is another having had the big one and been bought back.

God has opened doors and given me everything I ever wanted in life and it has been a full life, thirteen years in the Army, ten years of it as a skydiving instructor and a tour on the Seventh Army Parachute Team where we did exhibition jumps all over Europe. Ten years of living overseas seven years in Germany, two years in Panama and a year in Vietnam.  Twenty years of seeing America in a truck. Ten of those years were in my own truck and getting to witness out on the road.
 
That part of my life was behind me and it was all a Blessing but God had closed that door for whatever reason.  I was trying to reopen it. My goal was to get in my van and go back out on the road. My plan was to travel sharing my testimony getting stories to write for my blog.  The problem was I had not bought that part of the plan to the Lord.

Since October I have been very ill four times and three of those times I did not really know if I was going to see the other side but I did by His Grace. A couple of days ago I was reading a couple of friends blog post and the light came on. I don’t have to be out on the road to share my testimony. I met these girls at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference. It had been my privilege to go three years in a row. This year I missed it. 

In 2013 at the Conference I met the person who had come the farthest to the Conference.  He was a pastor from Japan. We started talking in the coffee shop and I shared with him that I had a friend that I had lost contact with over the years and that she was Japanese.  She was the wife of my best friend who died in a plane crash which killed fourteen members of the Army Parachute Team the Golden Knights. Well he wanted all the details I could give him.  I told him I had tried for several years with no luck in finding them.  He said no problem.  Anyhow the next morning at breakfast he gave me a piece of paper with her name, address and many details about her.  I called and sure enough it was her.  That fall I was reunited with my friend and former teammate’s son at Ft. Bragg, NC.  He is very involved in good works and has turned out to be a very awesome person.  Another circle in life had been completed.

The Lord has given me an awesome life.  I can live it again and again in memories.  I have seen the world, but now I need to become involved. It is time to reach out and help where he has placed me.

It is possible to share all that he has done for me without leaving here. My blog is doing very well. I am sure he called me to it. He opened all the doors, especially my time working as a journalist my last year in the Army.  Time spent writing for the Southern Command News in Panama, The voice of America in the Canal Zone.

So it is time to reel it in Richard.  It is time to reflect on all the neat little circles in life. To see God in them like the one that just closed.  The 29th of May my wife and I went to the graduation of our youngest daughters, youngest son’s graduation. His Mom went home to be with the Lord a few days before her 33rd birthday in August of 2010.  She fought a seven year battle with a brain tumor. It is only in looking back that I realize my heart attack had a purpose as I was allowed to take her to therapy and radiation.  Our bond became very strong and she was ready to go when the time came.  She passed with all her sons and family with her. The testimonies that were given at her memorial service made me see how awesome of a woman she was.

The day or so before the graduation my wife and I had these little things happening.  I took one of my grandsons out for a birthday lunch in Evansville. On the way back we stopped at a pond where Glenda loved to go and sit.  It had sunflower fields by it.  While it is early for sunflowers it was still beautiful. When I pulled in I had been on a country station. When I started the car to leave the radio had changed to a Gospel music station. I started crying.

Later that evening as we entered the graduation a lady caught our attention. She was wearing a hat, holding a lady’s arm and shuffling along.  She looked very much like our daughter did in her last days. I looked at my wife and we were both already in tears. Glenda was giving us signs, just as she had done when she passed.  We would sit on the front porch and butterflies would keep landing on us. It kind of freaked us out and yet it gave us peace.

Once we got inside the auditorium we found a good seat and had been there only a little while before our daughter’s best friend, who she lived with for awhile during her illness came in and sat with us.  They were there for the graduation of their son’s girlfriend. So Glenda gave us plenty of signs to know it will all work out.

Friday night I took my niece to an Amish auction near our house.  It is actually ten auctions in one as most of them are going on simultaneously.  In the course of the evening I started talking to a guy, mainly because of my Vietnam hat. He started telling jump stories and then he said he was a skydiver.  I probably physically rolled my eyes.  I have had that happen so many times only to find out they had not in fact skydived it was getting old. 

Then I asked him where he jumped at.  He said Ft. Stewart, GA and started naming names of people who trained him and jumped with him.  We had started at the same place and within six months of each other and knew all the same people. We agreed to get together some time and talk. It was kind of ironic to meet each other at an auction.  We only live about 50 miles apart.  While our lives followed many similar paths and crossed often it was our first meeting.

So maybe the circles of life are coming to a close. The Good Lord has definitely given me a good ride and I have really enjoyed it. My only hope is I can become a good stay at home Christian.  John 3:8 has not changed and still applies, but maybe  the winds are just becoming softer


In closing I just want to say to those who do read my posts regularly I truly appreciate every one of you, even if I have never met you.  I pray the Lord touches all your lives in a positive way. I apologize for the long break between posts but my health has been an issue.  I will try to make up for it by making the remaining posts I make, better posts.  I would also like to thank another BRMCWC member for encouraging me and for being a good friend. I wish her all the success she could ever hope for. Her book, Running from a Crazy Man, is about when God does not make sense. It is in a guest post on my blog and is written in short stories format on how we can deal with the issues we face in everyday life as a Christian and is endorsed by Jerry Jenkins of the Left Behind Series fame, which might say how good it is. And awesome a testimony to her writing skills.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Turning a Corner in Time



                 Turning a Corner in Time

Are we, or have we turned a corner in time. Are we fast approaching the time when there will be no more time as man knows it?  Every time I turn on the TV lately somebody is being or has been killed.  The truly scary part to me is that here in this country it is not the forces of evil doing the killing.  It is those appointed to protect and defend our society doing the killing.  How can this evil happen?  When did we turn this corner of death and destruction.  It was before 9/11. Remember Waco, Oklahoma City, Jim Jones, It has not been like this all my life or I do not remember it being this way, but it had to have a starting point. Or has it always been like this since Cain and Able. 

Then I read Ephesians 6:11-12, it gave me pause.  My eyes were opened in a new way.  I spent thirteen years of my life defending this country and what it stands for. How could it come to this? Those verses say, “Put on the whole armor of God. that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil,  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

So what is the Armor of God? The Word of Truth and the Holy Spirit are the most powerful parts.  Yet they must be combined with knowledge of the Word and how it functions in truth to be effectively used. 

Hosea 4:6 makes clear that God’s people are destroyed through a lack of knowledge.  That is not the heathens or the lost, it is His people.  This country professes to be His people today, but it certainly can’t be seen when we look at society as a whole.

OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

I am back I just had a bit of wake up call.  Nothing wakes you up like pouring a whole cup of hot coffee on your bare foot first thing in the morning as you take the sugar spoon out of the cup.  Didn’t really need the sugar I guess.

I was getting sidetracked from my goal for this post and I got pulled back into reality.  A friend of mines blog already says it in much better style than I could ever do. Where I was going with this? You can follow the link to her blog post.  You owe it to yourself to read her post and understand what is happening in the world we live in.

The following little insert is where I was headed before the coffee and when I started throwing out verses.  It sums up what I am personally having issues with.

      “Awesome Lori, it speaks volumes.  Irony for me is that I was/am just writing a similar piece but as a question. "A Corner in Time."  When did we turn this corner of death and destruction?  It was before 9/11. Remember Waco, Oklahoma City, Jim Jones, It has not been like this all my life or I do not remember it being this way, but it had to have a starting point. Or has it always been like this since Cain and Able.  Anyhow thanks for the boot to get it started.”  The above was my comment on her blog.

We thought the problem with people flying planes into things was over.  There is always a way for evil to accomplish it goal.  Jesus said in the end it would be as in the days of Noah.  I advise reading Genesis 6 and your eyes will be opened significantly.

Jesus also said the only sign that would be given was the sign of Jonah. If you want your eyes opened wider read 2nd Peter 3: 8-9 and if you count the days from Adam using the Lords count, we are entering the seventh day or the day of the Lord.  The only thing is left that has to happen for Jonah’s prophecy to be fulfilled is for the Lord to rise up, just as Jonah did.  It is amazing that he would use one of the most questioned books of the Bible as the only precursor of his coming. So if Jonah is a lie your okay, however, if it is true as Christ said it was.  We are standing at the door and everywhere I turn I hear knocking.

If you have a problem with what is going on in the world today you might read a couple verses from Isaiah and be even more confused or maybe enlightened. Isaiah 45: 5-9 yes God does it all, but for his purposes and in the end, regardless, he says we win. Isaiah 54:16;17.  Do YOU know YOUR Bible, it will make you a winner.


As the parable of the ten virgins makes clear, the time to fill your lamp with light and knowledge is quickly running out.  Please excuse my writing as it may not be the neatest.  I have been totally sick since the 28th of March and went from then to the 5th and ate nothing.  I had two tamales on Easter, normally eat six. Had no sides and went back to bed.  Was down to the 9th with nothing and then on the 10th I had my first meal, a 6 inch subway.  It stayed down and I feel better today.  I wanted to get this post out as I have not had one in a while, but believe me I was beginning  to wonder if there even was going to be another post.  The upside is I have lost almost 35 pounds.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Truth Will Set You Free



                 The Truth Will Set You Free

Will the Truth really set you free?  I can tell you from personal experience it can and it will.  The Bible says God’s Word is True and every man a liar. Towards the end of my Army career I had to decide if I really trusted the Word of God.  My superiors were determined to kick a soldier who was serving under me out of the Army.  I knew that the story and situation they were using to accomplish their goal was based on lies.  They informed me I had to go along with them or my career would be over.  It came down to a decision of which was more important, my integrity or my career.  Little did I know that just a couple of years down the road the choice I made would actually alter the course of my life.

At the time of the event I was serving as an Infantry squad leader in Germany.  I had spent my first ten years as a parachute rigger. The Army reclassified many people during the downsizing after Vietnam.  I was one of them.  Anyhow one of my men had been caught in possession of drugs.  The way he was caught was the issue.  My superiors violated regulations to catch and charge the man.  As a squad leader I knew he was guilty of what he was being charged with, but the Army had rules concerning search and seizure and those rules were violated to catch the man.  I had already warned him that I knew what he was doing and that if and when I caught him I would see that he was punished to the full extent of the law.  I also told him it would be perfectly legal and he would only have himself to blame for throwing away his career.

My view in the matter was that my men had to put their lives in my hands and be able to trust me.  My superiors said I was making too big of a deal out of the matter.   They said that we were not at war and so what did it not matter.  I argued that principals and integrity were the core values of leadership.  They ended up removing me from the man’s chain of command and proceeded on with his court-martial.  By removing me from the man’s chain of command I had no say so in his trial.  However I was allowed to act as a character witness at the trial. I knew before I walked in the door to that trial that if I did so my military career was over.

At the trial I was called in after the court martial was over.  The man had been found guilty and my superiors were sure they were going to kick the man out of the Army as they intended.  The judge asked me why I was willing to testify to the man’s character and not at the trial.  He asked me to explain in my words what had happened.  As I talked I saw him start to smile and it confused me.  When I finished speaking he said he had already found the man guilty and my only purpose was in determining what the exact punishment would be.  The judge explained to me that he knew I was telling the truth.  I asked how he could know that.  He stated that he had listened to five versions of the story during the trial.  My story was the only one that made sense of all their stories and he said therefore it had to be the truth.  Based on that revelation he decided that instead of kicking the man out of the Army he would fine him $25 and that would be the end of the matter.

Well it may have been the end of the matter for my soldier, but it was the start of a nightmare for me.  I had about 45 days left in Germany and my superiors made my life a living hell.  When it came time to leave they had to write my proficiency report.  Well they gave me one that was the worst I had ever seen.  They gave me a rating of 19 points out of a possible 125 points.  Not only that, they gave me a rating for the previous year at the same rating,  They had failed to do it when it was due.  The irony was that they had promoted me to staff sergeant in the period between the two reports.  To show the significance I had to write reports on a couple of soldiers that got kicked out of the service and I gave them a 75 and an 85 point reports.

After leaving Germany I went to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky for a year or so and then reenlisted for duty in the Panama Canal Zone, which just happened to be at the time of the Canal Zone Treaty.  For some reason I could not deal with the heat and humidity in Panama and it showed in my duty performance. I volunteered to the Department of the Army for discharge under the Qualitative Management Program way back in 1978.  I referenced the two bad efficiency reports from Germany as grounds for my application.  The Army was down-sizing after Vietnam and my request was approved.  I had received bad reports for not being physically fit for duty.  I did not know the irony of that, and that there was a reason, till almost forty years later.  Some time later in 2011 I found out many of my health problems were related to Agent Orange.  I started receiving disability in 2013.  The heat hadn't bothered me in Vietnam, but that was before I found out about Agent Orange and what it did to people. it never crossed my mind the that my inability to perform and my time in Vietnam might be connected.

There is another small irony in all this. Had I not taken typing in high school I may never have been drafted for temporary duty as a legal clerk and learned how to read and use the Army Regulations to my advantage.  I typed and submitted all the paperwork  myself for the Qualitative Management Program Application. I did not mention the fact that I had been promoted between the two EER's. that was sort of an 
"Ace in the hole" that I figured the review board would never see.  However when I filed for my Agent Orange Compensation I included it in the paperwork. I had intended to make a career of the Army, but my health was destroyed without my knowledge. Had I not met a retired Air Force officer and at a Bar B Q and our discussion had not come around to my health condition and my status, I may never have known to file the paperwork. I am sure hundreds of thousands of other people have also not filed because of not knowing.  The government does know who are qualified for the benefits but they have a sort of, don't tell, unless it is bought up policy. 

Had I not told the truth and stood up for the soldier in my squad in Germany it may not have had the same ending.  When I realized I could not do my job I might not have had those bad reports to fall back on.  I decided to get out of the Army and go to college because when I did re-enlist at Ft. Campbell two other NCO’s were denied reenlistment and not allowed to serve until they were eligible for retirement.  One had seventeen years and six months in the service and the other had seventeen years and ten months.  Army policy at the time said if you had eighteen years in the service you were locked in and they had to at least let you finish your twenty years for retirement. Had I served my time out I would have been at seventeen years and eight months and based on those two reports probably been denied re-enlistment.  My decision on leaving if I could was the best option.  One of the two men denied re-enlistment in the Army was based on something he did clear back on his first enlistment in the Army.  The example made clear to me that it might be better to leave, because I was not really good infantry material anyhow.

 Over the course of my twenty years in the trucking industry and going to court and fighting tickets that I felt were unjust and being willing to stand up for myself it became clear to me that many times the truth can and will literally set you free.  It might be good to add that over the years I got a few tickets when I did absolutely nothing wrong and had to pay the fine. It does not take much reflection on my part to know that in reality, I may have been innocent at that time, but many times I should have been busted but I got away with it.  My best friend calls it Karma, but I call it life.

All in all though I have lived a life I have enjoyed and in the end through no planning of my own I have been blessed with a decent income and no longer have to struggle to survive. The Bible says, "The steps of the righteous are ordered of the Lord"  I am not saying I am a righteous person, but I am saying the Lord has opened many doors in my life and made my paths straight, even when I didn't know I was on a path.  Things that I thought had no consequence or purpose served to open doors and give me opportunities that I never dreamed or envisioned and that worked out for my good in the end. From watching a skydiving demonstration by the Golden Knights in my home town, to becoming a skydiving instructor, serving on an Army exhibition parachute team in Europe, writing for a newspaper in the Army, and driving a truck for twenty years after learning to do so in Vietnam via OJT, while running from the Lord. Having four wonderful daughters, seven wonderful grand-kids and two great-grand-daughters that will melt the hardest heart.  Yep I am and have been Blessed beyond understanding.