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The Family Farm: Allegory of a Nation

In rustic rural Virginia, spread out along the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, laid land that had been the heritage of a hardworking, God fearing family. The farm had been a part of this family’s heritage for generations. Records at the local courthouse show the farm had belonged to the family for over three hundred years. The old farmer had worked the land and tended the cattle with the same dedication and care as the generations of those who had handed it down to him.

As the old farmer transitioned into his golden years he recalled how his grandfather and father used to discuss, with great concern, the difficulty in finding someone to represent them in the fields, in an honest and dependable way. He could recall as a young man how the conversations on the subject became more and more frequent and with growing concerns over the character of those they relied upon to make the farm work efficiently.

His thoughts drifted to the people he had depended on to help him run the farm. He remembered Jacob. Jacob was a very likeable guy. He remembered Jacob’s politician smile and firm handshake. When he met him the farmer recalled feeling like he had found someone with potential, someone he could count on to get the job done. Every time he met with Jacob he was upbeat, encouraging and Jacob would tell him how his assignments were moving smoothly, “like clockwork” Jacob liked to say. But different information started to surface that didn’t support Jacob’s claims. Equipment he was supposed to have serviced began breaking down for lack of standard maintenance. Tasks he said had been completed were only partially done, or poorly done, or not done at all. Jacob always had a smile and a positive response, but he had a problem telling the truth.

He remembered the day in the early spring when he was short handed and needed help with the planting. Ed stopped by the farm and asked if he needed any help. The farmer hired him and put him to work that day. Ed showed up every morning and went to the area he had been assigned, but found it more convenient to piddle and play than to work. The farmer made use of him as best he could to pick up some of the slack, but Ed’s poor work habits, what his father called being lazy, set him behind so he didn’t get everything planted he needed to plant.

Old Joe, Old Joe was a man who had worked for him for a good long while, probably longer than anyone else he had on the farm. He had trusted old Joe and promoted him to supervisor over field production where he was responsible for the planting and harvesting of grain, and the production of hay. Old Joe was diligent and hardworking, hardly missed a day. But the farmer discovered that old Joe had been skimming the harvests and selling a portion of the harvest on the side for himself.

The farmer’s memory slipped back to the time when his children began to work on the farm. He had worked hard to teach them how to live ethical productive lives. He had worked hard to instill in them strong work ethics, a sense of right and wrong, of being honest and doing their best in everything. But as they worked alongside the other farmhands they began to pick up bad habits. One by one the children found the work on the farm too hard and took government positions. They found the traits they had learned from the hired help served them well in their new employment.

The farmer now old and unable to keep up the farm, and not having his children there to take up the slack, or hired help he could trust, watched his precious farm deteriorate. The barn wasn’t painted. The fences weren’t mended. The cattle had to be sold. The fields were not plowed or planted. He was only able to keep up little patches to grow the food they needed and enough to sell to pay the basic bills.

When the old farmer died his wife was put in a home, so she had someone to care for her, and the farm was sold to a corporate agricultural firm. They came in and refurbished the buildings installing all the new high tech equipment needed to run the farm remotely. They tore down the old clap board farm house and replaced it with a new brick corporate office.

The heritage of the homestead stood silently on a hill overlooking the farm; marked with simple sandstone monuments, engraved with the heroes’ names, dates of birth and death.

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Can We Put the Pieces Back Together?

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall; Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. Threescore men and threescore more, Can’t place Humpty Dumpty as he was before.

Cute little nursery rhyme, but it illustrates for us the dilemma our nation faces today. There has been an egregious break down in the moral and ethical fabric of our cultural foundation and the results there has been a melt down of everything else; laws, economy, culture and patriotism. As we look at the condition our country is in we have to ask, as the poet of the nursery rhyme; “can it be put back together again?”

Where does hope for a solution lie?

Many look to the political arena to find the skill and wisdom to reassemble our broken society. But the political genius has all too often proven inept and short-lived at best. They pass laws to try to correct the designed destruction of our constitution, but in a few years a careless populous turns around and elects an even more radical socialists to move the destruction of our liberties and freedom nearer the edge of total collapse.

The present period, of what was supposed to have been an administration of social and moral cleansing and renewal, has proven to be an administration that has pushed the social and constitutional pillars of our country over the cliff and left those who love freedom, liberty and the fundamentals of democracy and capitalism working to try to salvage a few of the critical pieces. We have to watch as arrogant, self promoting socialists drive the historical principles of the most prolific nation in history into the abyss.

Can the pieces be put together again?

The only hope for restoration of this great nation lies in the one whose mercy and grace brought about its inception, establishment and ascension to greatness, God. Throughout the history of our country when this nation was in the process of losing its foundation of godliness and civil order the merciful creator sent revival. The hearts of the populace were changed and the minds of the citizens ordered so his hand of protection and blessing could be preserved and propogated.

I propose that the only way this malicious destruction of that which has afforded us the privilege of living peaceful lives, enjoying the fabulous fruits of liberty and the opportunity to pursue happiness, is a national return to God. Socialism and atheism has inundated our federal education system, disposing of God and establishing humanism as the supreme authority. We find ourselves in a period similar to the time of the Old Testament judges when everyone did that which was right in their own eyes.

The solution today is the same as it was in their day, repentance and turning to God. Only he can put the broken shell of our constitution and our freedom back together again.

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Love and modern cultures:

Elizabeth Barrett Browning spoke of love in these familiar terms.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Love has been described in very diverse and personal ways by almost everyone who has lived, from philosophers and poets, to artists and clerics. Each has their own unique perspective and expectations of love, how it should be demonstrated, and expectations of how it should be rewarded. Literature is filled with tales of love, the tragedy of love unrequited and the exhilaration of love fulfilled. Shakespeare wrote of Romeo and Juliet as well as of Hamlet, plays that reflected vastly different concepts of love.

Ones concept of love is often a reflection of their culture. When strict moral codes are followed there is a public expectation that the citizenry adhere to its standards. When more liberal standards are the norm,  promotion and practices of all types of sexual gratification are condoned and promoted.

These attitudes greatly impact relationships. In the more permissive social order love becomes a recreational activity that promotes erotic gratification more than a meaningful demonstration of love that bonds a husband and wife, and promotes the propagation of ones family. Love and romance become an activity with no responsibility, or obligation to care for and cherish the one pleasures are derived from. One’s intimate partner becomes nothing more than an object of pleasure and self-gratification.

When we look at the permissive sexual attitude we see basic natural instincts unleashed without the properly ordained elements that make the human love relationship significant, and more meaningful than just animal instinct, the need to breed. The permissive culture subjugate
responsibility and commitment to thrill and pleasures, to the sexual conquest. There is a prevailing attitude that it’s alright to humiliate and degrade someone else as long as it provides you with the stimulation and satisfaction you seek. It is alright to abandon the fruits of one’s indulgence so they will not be restricted from future sexual gratification.

There are two distinct natures at work in the arena of sexual stimulation and gratification.  The male nature seeks out a partner.  He has a hunter instinct. The male is attracted by sight and aroma. So, he searches for the image that brings him the greatest degree of stimulation. When engaged by these stimulations a chemical reaction is set off. Specific hormones are released  enhancing his excitement and need for sexual release. The more willing, or receptive ,or what might be considered vulnerable the prey, the more aggressive he becomes.

There are also chemical surges in the female body. Urges that are stimulated by her need to be recognized, desired and loved. She knows how to engage the one searching for her. She fixes her hair, applies make-up, and dresses in ways that best portrays her feminine assets. She finds a perfume that she believes will draw attention to her and facilitate her carefully constructed program of enticement and seduction. Her intentions can be readily discerned by the motivated males. They will seek to persuade her into allowing them to touch her knowing her internal chemistry is triggered by their attention and discreetly placed touches. Special words catered to her interests lowers her resistance to their intentions. Then slow advances, innocent touch in less offensive ways and places, reveal her receptiveness and gradually release her flow of hormones. Once this release of hormones has been initiated she will be driven to satisfy her innate sexual desires.

Nature instills within each individual drives and desires that propagate the species, but humans have been given the ability to exercise rational regulation of these desires and drives. Ephesians 6 tells us that we are to “gird up our emotions (loins) with truth.” Gird up means to bind, to pull up and secure. In the ancient days when the accepted fashion was long robes, if an individual needed to work or run they would gird up their robe. They would pull up the long garment wrapping it around their waist to cover themselves and then tuck it and tie it so it didn’t trip them or become tangled in their feet. It was gird up and bound.

When the writer of scripture used this illustration related to spiritual warfare the concept was to override the natural instinct of emotions and feelings, by binding them with truth. Truth can regulate these desires by activating reason and focusing on the realities of the action and its consequences. Truth requires one to accept responsibility for their actions, and to provide for the needs and the well-being of those who have been  impacted by these actions. Abortion has become an accepted and promoted means to circumvent ones responsibilities, allowing them to  experience the gratification, but not be held responsible for their actions.

Love in the modern culture is diversified. It is as much a “many splendored thing” as ever. But in our modern culture it has deteriorated into a debase, unbridled, animal instinct accepting no responsibility for the choices made and the actions taken. Because of this many have become disillusioned with love  feeling that it is hopeless to secure a real and meaningful relationship. Many experience the emptiness of  this  meaningless drive for sexual satisfaction. They engage in a never-ending journey to find intimate fulfillment, but they can never satisfy the desires of their lust. They fail to discover that the satisfaction they seek is in the relationship they discard. Commitment and responsibility sustains the environment necessary to produce sexual satisfaction.

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Can We Put the Pieces Back Together?

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall;
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
Threescore men and threescore more,
Can’t place Humpty Dumpty as he was before.

Cute little nursery rhyme, but it illustrates for us the dilemma our nation faces today. There has been an egregious break down in the moral and ethical fabric of our cultural foundation and the results there has been a melt down of everything else; laws, economy, culture and patriotism. As we look at the condition our country is in we have to ask, as the poet of the nursery rhyme; “can it be put back together again?”

Where does hope for a solution lie? Many look to the political arena to find the skill and wisdom to reassemble our broken society. But the political genius has all too often proven inept and short-lived at best. They pass laws to try to correct the designed destruction of our constitution, but in a few years a careless populous turns around and elects an even more radical socialists to move the destruction of our liberties and freedom nearer the edge of total collapse. The present period, of what was supposed to have been an administration of social and moral cleansing and renewal, has proven to be an administration that has pushed the social and constitutional pillars of our country over the cliff and left those who love freedom, liberty and the fundamentals of democracy and capitalism working to try to salvage a few of the critical pieces. We have to watch as arrogant, self promoting socialists drive the historical principles of the most prolific nation in history into the abyss.

Can the pieces be put together again? The only hope for restoration of this great nation lies in the one whose mercy and grace brought about its inception, establishment and ascension to greatness, God. Throughout the history of our country when this nation was in the process of losing its foundation of godliness and civil order the merciful creator sent revival. The hearts of the populace were changed and the minds of the citizens ordered so his hand of protection and blessing could be preserved and propogated.

I propose that the only way this malicious destruction of that which has afforded us the privilege of living peaceful lives, enjoying the fabulous fruits of liberty and the opportunity to pursue happiness, is a national return to God. Socialism and atheism has inundated our federal education system, disposing of God and establishing humanism as the supreme authority. We find ourselves in a period similar to the time of the Old Testament judges when everyone did that which was right in their own eyes. The solution today is the same as it was in their day, repentance and turning to God. Only he can put the broken shell of our constitution and our freedom back together again.

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Reflections On Our Fallen Heroes

The graves of hundreds of thousands of our American heroes, lie scattered around the world. Simple white headstones strewn across sacred fields like the fallen bodies of those brave souls they represent.

Who can restrain the tears that well up in our eyes as we look upon the final resting place of these fallen saints of freedom.

Who can repress the pride that floods our hearts as we think about the sacrifices they made so we can enjoy the things they will never again experience.

The simple embrace of their mother.

The passionate kiss of their mate.

The pride of a son and daughter standing by their side.

No graduations, no weddings, no holidays, no moments of silent satisfaction reflecting on family and life.

Perhaps, we who enjoy the rewards of their investment should set aside a few moments now and then to pause in silent reflect, on exactly what they have sacrificed, so that we might experience these truly sacred privileges.

Thank you veterans; fallen, wounded, retired, those who have returned from conflict, and those still engaged; for your sacrifice and commitment to making our country the land of the free and the home of the brave, and each of us proud to be Americans.

 

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So Easy to Forget

When I was a small boy my family use to spend the summers at grandma’s house. Many days I would be left with my grandma as my dad went to work and my mother would visit her sisters and friends. There was a second floor with several bedrooms, a bathroom, a wide hallway that led to a big room with a round dinning table and a couple chairs. There was also this awesome porch made up of all windows that looked out over the backyard.

In the wide hall way was some old dressers. In these dresser drawers were a lot of old personal relics from my grandfather, who was veteran of world war I, and my uncles who served and miraculously all came home from world war II. I think my grandfather had encouraged my uncles to serve as cooks because I think all of them but one served as cooks and the one served as a mechanic. There were a couple old metal helments that belonged to my grandfather, and a bunch of medals that belonged to my grandfather and my uncles.

I recall the most amazing photograph of my grandfather’s unit that hung on the outside wall of the upstairs hallway between a large dresser and a window. I often looked at the photograph, but never really knew which one was my grandfather. Eventhough he had come home from combat in Europe, he had been exposed to mustard gas and it caused him extreme health issues the rest of his short lived life. He spent a lot of time in the veteran’s hospital in Chicago and was restricted to bed when he finally came home to live out the final days of his life. He died when my father was only eleven years old, so I never had the privilege to meet him or know him.  I recall my grandmother sharing some stories about how they met and how she cared for him when he was home. He was her whole life and when he died a big piece of her died too.

As a child I never understood the value of those treasures stored away in the unsecured vaults of time, I would put the helment on and pretend I was a soldier not knowing the sacrifice these men had made to provide me with the security I took for granted everyday living a carefree life at grandma’s house during the summer.

I would take a medal I found in a dresser drawer and ask grandma what it was. She never knew what it had been awarded for, but she always knew which son it belonged to. I wish the medals and the old steel helments could have talked to me and told me the things they had been through. Then maybe I would not be so forgetful on memorial day of all that my grandfather and uncles had done for me and this amazing country where we enjoy freedom and liberty under the banner of the red, white and blue.

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Relevant Worship

Is your worship relevant to real spiritual health and eternal well-being? As we read through the Old Testament we find periods when Israel’s worship became nothing more than ritual and routine. They went through ceremonies passed down from previous generations, but the experience was nothing more than ritualistic traditons.

There is a generational gap in many churches today. Many churches have a traditonal service and then a contemporary service to try and entice “the new generation.” The younger generations are confused by the traditional hymns and formalities found in convential services. There is a feeling that worship has become irrelevant and we need to make it more hip and interesting for the younger generation.  But is the format the real issue?

When the earlier generations established their worship it was based on what ministered to their souls. The singing and scripture reading had meaning and significance becasuse they had a real relationship with God. The culture was slower paced and had time for meditation. They lived their faith and worship was an extension of their daily walk.

Today life is high tech and there is little time for meditation and reflection on God and his word. Believers grab a spiritual thought here and there and then they are off into the excesses of the world to try and survive till they hear a blurb about God on the radio, or see a glossy production on television, or stumble onto some religious tweet, blog or social media posting providing short term spiritual resuscitation.

Worship needs to be relevant to be meaningful, but making it shallow and hip is not the solution. Ministries need to help the believers in their congregation build meaningful relationships with their Lord and Savior. They need to Lead fellow believers into stronger relationships with God, which will provide them with a spiritual maturity and depth that makes their worship meaningful. Do we need to jazz up our worship or build more mature believers?

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