Tag Archives: Richard.Vincent.Rose.

Jeremiah 18:2: “By Any Means Necessary”

Hi Friends:

I was studying the first section of Jeremiah, Chapter 18, when God revealed something to me that I had never seen before.
Of course, this is the “Potter and the Clay” story, which we have all read many times.
To paraphrase, “He is the Potter, and we are the clay.”
My Pastor used to like to say that, “He is the Boss.”

The exact Scripture verse, which is Jeremiah 18:6 is:
“Oh house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? Saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, as are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.”

This Scripture was using the example of a potter, as a “type,” to show God’s power in dealing with the nations of the earth. In particular, the consequences if that nation will “turn from their evil,” or “if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice …”

However, what I saw, for the first time, was in the opening of this portion of Scripture, when God instructed Jeremiah to “go down to the potter’s house” (18:2a). God then clearly told Jeremiah that “I will cause thee to hear my words” (18:2b).

“I will cause thee to hear my words.”
Immediately, it hit me, and I wrote this to the side of the verse, yes, in my Bible:
“BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.”

It really resounded in my soul.
One of the Bibles I use is the “Thompson Chain Reference Bible.”
I wrote my note just above the right margin note #1776, entitled, “Inspiration.”
“By any means necessary.”

So often I write, and have even recently, how God will use “any means necessary” to reach us.
It may be just part of a conversation, one phrase we hear, from a conversation, as we walk by.
I’ve stepped off an elevator and hear just enough to confirm something.
It may be a poster we just happen to see on a doorway or hallway at school or office.
I’ve seen a license plate, or a bumper sticker, or words on a billboard, or part of an advertisement on a truck, which was exactly what I needed to see or hear at that particular moment.

If we will keep our eyes and ears open, and especially our hearts open, God will use “any means necessary” to reach us.

I can guarantee you that if you will include prayer and Bible study in your daily routine, God will speak to you. Plus, if you will stay in an attitude of prayer, which leads to an “attitude of gratitude,” it will seem that everywhere you go, in everything you do, God will speak to you.

God has spoken to me, clearly, in places like the shower, and certainly the car, anywhere I was … because, let’s face it … Everywhere you go … He goes. He’s there with you. We have this good ‘ol habit of liking to use a phrase like, “Then … God showed up …” The fact of the matter is that He was there the whole time.
And … ready for this … He was there before you …

God loves us. He gave Himself for us. All He wants is to have a relationship with us. To be with us. I think, though, most importantly, for us to “be with Him.” He’s already with us, for us. He wants us to know that. To believe that.

Man, is it difficult to have a relationship with someone you don’t know.
Written that a time or two.
God has given us so much.
He just wants us to receive it.
Acknowledge it.
I think about this:
How do we feel when we go out of our way to help someone, or give someone something that we didn’t have to give them … and, they don’t even acknowledge it.
… Just saying … (I read that in an email today) …

So, God loves us so much that He will, “by any means necessary,” try to reach us.
Encourage us.
Help us.
Bless us.

By any means necessary, he will “cause thee to hear my words.”

By the way, another note I made, off to the side, as I was studying this passage:
In 18:4, the potter had made a vessel which “was marred in the hand of the potter.”
It was damaged.
Didn’t say how.
Just that it was “marred.”
Did the potter throw away the clay?
Start over with another batch of clay (sorry, I don’t what they call a “batch” of clay)?
No, the potter took the exact same clay, the clay that had been damaged, and
“he made it again …”
The note I wrote off to the side:
“HE DIDN’T DISCARD-HE MADE IT AGAIN”

God’s Word is awesome.
He loves us so much that He will “cause thee to hear my words.”

By any means necessary.

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Advertisements

Using Isaiah 54:17 to “Beat the Devil:” Part Two

Hi Friends:
We are still trying to get to the explanation of the title.

Just so we can read it again, here’s the full verse:

“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.”
Isaiah 54:17

So, really …
When was the last time you heard someone speak this verse?
When was the last time you spoke this verse?

It was while watching a movie on the TBS On-Demand channel that I saw the promos for a new version of “The Jokers Wild” game show.
This used to be … “way-back-when” … one of my favorite game shows. I have always liked shows which feature “question and answers” to test your knowledge.

So, I started researching the history of “The Jokers Wild” game show.
As I progressed, I ran into a lot of “I Remember” moments.
Enough of those moments to add this installment of what will be a three-part series, into our “I Remember” category.

Perhaps, when we hear of a game show which tests your knowledge, we first think of “Jeopardy!”
I remember the original “Jeopardy!” hosted by Art Fleming. The original daytime version debuted on NBC on March 30, 1964. Don Pardo was the announcer until 1975, and John Harlan announced for the 1978–1979 show.
I used to love Art Fleming coming out, raising his arm, and saying, “Thank you, John Harlan!!!” or “Thank you, Don Pardo!!!” as he walked to the podium. Art Fleming just seemed to be a nice man. As a fan of old-time radio, and, I guess now, old-time television, it was always important who the announcer was. I remember when the announcer was a big part of the show in those early years of television.
The daily syndicated version, the “current version,” has featured Alex Trebek as host and Johnny Gilbert as announcer since 1984.
1984?
Alex Trebek has hosted “Jeopardy!” since 1984?
That’s 34 years.
34 years.

There is an old saying in the radio business that, “You know you’re getting older when they start making “re-makes” of songs that you used to play when they were brand new.”
I guess now, the same can be said for game shows.

“Jeopardy!” is one of those shows that, when you walk in the room where the show is on … you have stop, and try to answer at least one question … or, more. It just “grabs you” and, certainly that is one of the secrets behind its appeal. Just like “The Wheel of Fortune,” when the game is on when you walk in the room, you just have to stop for a moment, and try to solve the puzzle.
While I was never a fan of “Wheel of Fortune,” I used to love “Jeopardy!”
Have you noticed that “Jeopardy!” is always spelled with an exclamation point?

Anyway, I remember, when I was a child, that Mama used to love to watch “Jeopardy!” So, I loved it, too.
I remember … “Jeopardy!” was on at 10:00 …Right after “The Phil Donahue Show,” which Mama also would sometimes watch.
I can still remember certain episodes of “The Phil Donahue Show” with Billy Graham as guest.

Oh, boy … do I remember “The Jack LaLanne Show” … That would have to be one of my earliest television memories …
One man, and one chair … His fitness show ran from 1953 until 1985.

Both my Mom and Dad used to watch his program. I remember that much of Jack LaLanne’s audience were stay-at-home mothers. His wife, Elaine LaLanne, was part of the show to demonstrate the exercises, as well as demonstrate the fact that doing the exercises would not ruin their figures or musculature.
Remember this?
Jack LaLanne also included his dog Happy as a way to attract children to the show. Later, another dog named Walter was used, with LaLanne claiming “Walter” stood for “We All Love To Exercise Regularly.”

Which leads me to remember … Charles Atlas …
I remember Daddy was a big fan of Charles Atlas, and I can remember, every morning, Daddy doing exercises made famous by Charles Atlas.
Of course, I was a big fan of Charles Atlas.
I think every American boy was.
Yes … I remember those “kick sand in the face” ads on the back of comic books and magazines.
And … yes … I remember ordering the “Charles Atlas Course,” as well.

Daddy always … always … watched the world news at 6:30.
Didn’t matter if we were in the middle of supper or not …
He would grab his plate, and go into the living room, sit on the couch, and watch the news.
Always.
I remember Chet Huntley and David Brinkley.
I remember Walter Cronkite.
I remember, on Saturday nights … Roger Mudd hosting the Saturday Evening News on CBS.
We always watched that …
Wrestling was on, from Chattanooga, at 5:00, so the news would follow at 6:00.
I remember … when we got one of our first hogs/pigs, Daddy named it “Roger Mudd.”

I remember … after the news … if we were lucky … we’d get to watch “Truth or Consequences” with Bob Barker, and then … if we got to watch that … we could watch “Dragnet.”
I remember … that, sometimes, we would watch “To Tell the Truth” with Gary Moore hosting.
That was usually the only hour of TV we got …
Except on Thursday night … when “The Waltons” were on.
On Friday nights … we got a bonus:
We were able to watch “Sanford and Son.”
I remember “Chico and the Man,” which would follow.

We were all awake, watching Walter Cronkite, when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.

Anyway … back to the game shows …

I was a fan of “The Jokers Wild” years ago.
I remember that I always did well on getting the answers correct.
I don’t get to watch “Jeopardy!” anymore, and I have no real interest in “game shows,” but I still love anything that carries a “question and answer” theme.
For example, when writing Part One of this series, I needed to check spelling and correct definition of a word. I use the Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary and Thesaurus.
Of course … before I left their website … I had to take at least one quiz … I did pretty well on it …
So, the point is, I still like quizzes, and the like, which test knowledge.

So, I thought I’d check out the new “Jokers Wild” television show. As written, I was a big fan of the show, many years ago.
When it first aired, the show was billed as
“The game where knowledge is king and lady luck is queen.”

By the way, Jack LaLanne would say that
“Exercise is king and nutrition is queen.”

As I researched the history of the show, it read like a “who’s who” of game shows.
“The Jokers Wild” first aired on CBS from 1972 to 1975, and from 1977 to 1986 in syndication. A children’s version, titled “Joker! Joker!! Joker!!!” aired from 1979 to 1981, and
a revival of the series aired in 1990 and 1991. The creator of the show, Jack Barry, hosted the show from 1972 to 1984, and is the host I have always associated with “Jokers Wild.”

In my research, I discovered this:
Jack Barry was not the original choice to host the show.
Allen Ludden hosted the first two pilot episodes for CBS.
Tom Kennedy, Wink Martindale, and Allen Ludden were the three top choices to host, but each was already committed to other shows. Kennedy was tied to “Split Second” for ABC, Ludden had just started hosting a revival of “Password,” and Martindale was to host “Gambit.”
They offered the hosting job to Dennis James, who had originally been the favorite to land the host job for the upcoming Mark Goodson–Bill Todman Productions’ game show “The New Price Is Right.” When CBS agreed to a weekday daytime version of “The New Price Is Right,” Vice President of Daytime Programming B. Donald “Bud” Grant wanted 15-year “Truth or Consequences” host Bob Barker to host “The New Price is Right” instead of Dennis James. Bob Barker originally said he would gladly host “Jokers Wild,” but Grant convinced him to take the hosting role on “The New Price Is Right” instead, which, as you know, Bob Barker would then host for 35 years. Meanwhile, Dennis James was hired by Goodson to host a night-time syndicated version of “The New Price Is Right.”

By the way … I remember … “Password” with Allen Luden.
Remember how popular this show was?

“The Joker’s Wild,” with host Jack Barry, debuted on CBS, on September 4, 1972, on the same Labor Day as “The New Price Is Right,” as well as “Gambit.” It ran until June 13, 1975, airing at 10:00 AM.

That’s enough for now …
Next time … I promise … to fully explain the title of this series …

As our thoughts … and our pens … turn to …
“Snoop Dogg Presents The Jokers Wild.”
Yes … “that” Snoop Dogg.”

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Graduation: Three in Six Days: Introduction to “Class of ’57”

Hi Friends:

This started as a short introduction to the Statler Brothers’ song, written by Don Reid and Harold Reid, “The Class of ’57.”
I hadn’t planned on writing much … but here we go …

This will serve as an introduction to the video, which we’ll feature next time …

Somehow, I feel comfort when I think that I wasn’t even born in 1957, but the words from this popular Statler Brothers song continue to ring true today:

“We all thought we’d change the world
With our great works & deeds
Or maybe we just thought the world
Would change to fit our needs
The class of ’57 had its dreams”

I’ve been a “ticketed” guest at 3 different High School Graduation ceremonies in one week, at 3 separate, very different venues. 3 in 6 days. That’s one every two days.
I’ve witnessed speeches, marches, and the look of fear, anticipation, gratitude, joy, and excitement, with tassels being turned, and caps thrown into the air.

I’ve seen the pride and joy, that look of accomplishment, of a student who would be the first in their family to graduate High School.
I’ve also looked into the eyes of a student who had just been told that they would not be graduating …
The first place they came was to the Library …

I’ll never forget last Friday, when a group of graduates, as they saw me arrive, began shouting my name, running up as a group to hug me … It was exactly the same scene I had, a few years ago, when I walked into a local McDonald’s, and as I walked from the side entrance, through the restaurant, to the front counter, I passed a group of tables … where a group of my students (now, this was K-2), having “lunch at Summer camp,” saw me, and … there is no better word to describe it … they mobbed me … screaming my name as they ran up, surrounded me, and, literally, “jumped on me” …
You just don’t forget those moments.

By the way … and, all teachers know this:
When you teach K-2, and you see a student at Wal-Mart, they mob you.
When you teach High School, and you see a student at Wal-Mart … they ignore you … like they’ve never seen you before …

This past Monday, in another city, a pretty long drive, I was there to witness the Graduation of a student who had worked for me in the Library at the High School … first, as an internship, then, on a volunteer basis … The traffic in town was incredible, and I finally found a place to park. The only chairs available were at the back of the assembly, which was great, because, the Graduates entered the large hall from the back entrance, just behind me. As they slowly, step-by step, made their way up the aisle, I was turned around to see each Graduate as they “entered” the Main Hall area … I will never forget the look on this young man’s face, as he entered the “staging area” directly behind me … As he stepped into view … He saw me there on the back row … I’ll just never … ever … forget the huge smile that erupted from his face, as he realized I was there …

This young man had made a special trip to our High School, a couple of months before, to present me with the “ticket” to attend the ceremony … I, nor he, had any idea that he would be presented/awarded with an award at Graduation, that is the highest honor a Graduate could receive … in honor of Public Service … His Mother was a featured guest speaker at the Ceremony … His “sash” had the “USAF” banner … I was so proud of him … The photos of me and him, as he displayed his “Raymond Burton” Award, in full “cap and gown,” with the “USAF” sash draped across his shoulders, was one of the proudest moments of my life … eclipsed only by the opportunity to take several photos of him and his Mother … with her camera! I’ll just never forget that …

Then, on Friday, our High School had our Graduation ceremony.
More memories:
The young lady who sang the National Anthem, and whom I have written about in a previous post (I’m so proud of her!), practiced the Anthem … just outside the Library door … that is one picture I’ll always treasure …

I was able to fulfill a promise to another young man who had interned … and then volunteered … to help me in the Library this year. He is a proud member of the United States National Guard, and I had promised, if he would stop by, before Graduation, to take pictures of him (and us together) in his “Dress Blues,” which he proudly wore underneath his Graduation robe. He had just received his “PFC” ranking, and with his Insignia Pin, Award Medal, and sash proudly displaying “National Guard,” we were able to take his picture … and … which meant so much … “our” picture, in the Library …

I saw so many students … maybe, let’s be honest … I may have been seeing for the last time … who have helped me, on a volunteer basis, in the Library.
So many who just loved to stop by and visit …
So many … many students … maybe, let’s be honest … I may have been seeing for the last time …

It’s not that I may have meant much to them … that I may have influenced and affected their lives …
It’s how profoundly they have influenced and affected my life.
That they did … and do … mean so much to me.

As I saw the “caps and gowns” of some I have known since they were just “kids,”
I didn’t feel any older.
I felt prouder.

“And the class of ’57 had its dreams
But living life day-to-day
Is never like it seems
Things get complicated when you get past eighteen
But the class of ’57 had its dreams”

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Looking Back (Side) at Winter: Race to the Road

Hi Friends:

As we anxiously awaited the arrival of Spring this year, we couldn’t help but think about how tough this Winter has been. Yet, through it all, we’d always, every day, hold onto that “promise of Spring.”

I don’t think I’ve seen the snow as deep in the back yard as it is now. The snow bank, next to the driveway, which is where we throw the snow, is 5 feet high. I have friends who just don’t have anywhere else to put any more snow. But, that’s how our version of Spring’s arrival looks.

I don’t remember having as much ice as we’ve had this year, and, by that, I mean how the driveway has “iced over” so many times. I remember one Monday, taking the trash barrel out to the road, I didn’t make it down the driveway … at least on 2 legs. About half-way down, I just couldn’t half-stand any farther. I was doing the ‘ol surf-board bend, my left arm extended, and the other hand grasping the handle of the trash barrel, when gravity took over … I ended up sliding, on my backside and side … down the second half of the driveway … ending up in the middle of the road. Me and the trash barrel ended up in a dead-heat at the road, both arriving at the same time. No … I think I made it to the road first!

For a moment, I knew how those guys in the Winter Olympics feel … Unfortunately … it was that guy who symbolized “The agony of defeat.”

And, speaking of “de feet,” I felt even worse, because I had a pair of “crampons” attached to my “big boy boots,” sitting there by the pellet stove. What a life-saver these are. Carol had gotten me these for Christmas, and I have used them a couple of times, when clearing out the ice and adding dirt to the driveway. These are the “strap-on” crampons, with rubber “soles,” which you just stretch over the bottoms of your boots. If you are thinking about buying these, they are worth every penny. It’s like a tool you buy for a particular job, and don’t use very often. But, when you use them, they are well worth whatever you paid for them. I even saw the mail carrier wearing these. I was concerned that there was no way she could walk up the driveway, on a day when the whole driveway was a solid sheet of ice. She got out of the mail truck, and without flinching, proceeded to walk up our driveway, without batting an eye. When she first started up, I was amazed … it seemed miraculous … it was like she was walking on water, which if you think about it (think about it in context here), she was … frozen water. So, anyway, they are worth the money.

So, why didn’t I just slip my boots on, this particular morning? I mean, I walked right past them on my way out the door to take the trash down, and then leave for work. You know why. Because, as I always do, when getting ready for work, I cut it as close as humanly possible to leave at the last possible moment. I mean, like many of you, I have it down to a science. Every second really does count. I don’t wear “tie-up” shoes, slip-ons only, so I won’t have to “waste” 2 minutes tying shoes. Most of my school shirts are of the “pull-over” variety. I’m not mandated to wear a tie, which would be difficult because of what I may have to do, on any given day. This saves me precious seconds spent buttoning a shirt. I have my clothes ready, and lunch made, from the night before. I am constantly trying to find new ways to save time in the mornings. So, I did think about putting on the boots with crampons, but that would have “cost” me precious time, having to deal with the boot laces, and then, having to untie the boots to swap into my school shoes (slip-ons, of course) would have cost me maybe, just maybe, 3 minutes. So, I made the decision to “risk it” and walk/crouch down the driveway, to get the trash to the curb. 3 extra minutes! What would you have done?

While it could have been much, much worse (I know people who broke bones in less of a fall), especially if there had been any traffic at all, I still got my palms and arms bloodied up a bit, but, since I was running late for work … I waited until I got to work to “clean up” and check to see if my clothing had suffered any tears. On the way to work, I used what paper towels and tissues I had in the truck, to get the bleeding stopped and clean up enough to make the walk from truck to building without attracting any attention.

The next part I must place in context. I had slid a pretty good distance on the ice, and, if there was any damage to my clothing, it would be in a place I couldn’t see. When I reached the Library, there were a couple of staff members, which are trusted friends. One of the ladies, yes ladies, had suffered a serious injury from a fall on the ice, a couple of years ago. I mean, she had gotten really hurt from the fall. So, I knew she would understand. She is also a friend of Carol’s, so it seemed ok to politely ask. So, in the best, mild-mannered way I could, I briefly explained what had happened, and would she be kind enough to check out … I mean … take a look at … I mean … well, it wasn’t comfortable, but necessary under the circumstances. I had to make sure my pants weren’t ripped … They weren’t, and only my pride had been injured.

As I flew (I guess you can fly on your rear end) down the driveway, I could really sense God’s hand on me. I really could. The thoughts of so many people, friends I’ve known, who have been hurt by falling on ice, I must admit, raced through my mind. Which made the fact that nothing was broken, or badly injured, mean that much more to me. I may have come close, but, yet again, when I’ve done something stupid, God’s hand was still on me.

Yeah, it’s been a tough Winter. Yet, that’s all the more reason to be thankful. Thanks, literally, to God’s protective hand, we’ve made it through. Yeah, there is still more “weather” to go through … I mean … If I hear one more person tell me how they remember when it snowed on the 4th of July …

Like so many situations in our lives, it is God’s faithfulness in the past, which gives us hope for the future. As David said, the same God which delivered me from the bear, and the lion, will deliver me from this …

Again, I can’t remember a time, ever, when I have looked more forward to Spring and Summer …
Yet, as I remember this Winter, what God wants me to remember is that it is a memory … of times past … when He kept His hand on us, and gave us confidence and assurance in the future. A future which He has made possible, and, He will be with us in the middle of Spring and Summer, too.
See, the weather will improve.
I need to improve.
He doesn’t.

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Trees, the Truck, and Parking with God’s Protection, Providence, and Placement

Hi Friends:

We can always be sure that God makes it where we always have something (s) to pray about, and, just as important, we always have something (s) to be thankful for. When it comes to the weather, I think, regardless of where we live, we always have things to be to be both about.

It’s said that the weather is always something we can talk about, and, again, true regardless of where we live. While it would be easy to write about the weather “up here” for the last few weeks, with record-setting cold, I look back to one particular night, late last year, when we got a taste of what a lot of the country had been facing for so much of the past year: Rain, winds, storms, and more rain, storms, and wind.

It was the end of October/first of November, when the rains came. We are blessed up here in the North Country to be “shielded” from things like Hurricanes, Tornados, and the like. Occasionally, however, we’ll get the tail-end of a real monster, which ends its devastating trek across the country up North, before it heads out to sea. Of course, we’re speaking of rain-storms, and not the snow-storms, the ‘Nor’easters, which can make headlines … and make people wonder why anyone would want to “live up there.” The cold that we’re still experiencing (it was -15 when I went to bed last night) makes many wonder the same thing.

Anyway, it was the end of this past October, when the wind and rain was forecast to hit us, and, what followed, really made us appreciate/understand, first-hand, what our friends way-down South, and up the Coast, had been experiencing. Not since Irene and Sandy approached, were we facing a storm like this one, with the potential of damaging winds and flooding rain. And … hit, it did.

While we all like to think we are prepared for such an event, there’s just no way to accurately prepare for a storm’s onslaught, because you just never know what it will hit … and, what it will miss. You just have to do the best you can … and, pray.

The storm, as predicted, hit up here, in the middle of the night, on the first Monday night of November. Many friends told me they were awakened in the middle of the night by the high winds and pounding rain, the sound of limbs and trees falling. Didn’t I hear it? I didn’t. I guess that’s one of the “benefits” of going to bed so late … you sleep through just about anything … Anyway … the power had gone off, sometime during the night, and the heavy rain was still falling before dawn. I stepped out onto the front porch, but it was too dark to see anything.

I could see my truck, where I had parked it on Saturday, where I park it alongside the porch, so that I can just walk up the ramp with the groceries. Yes, I do the grocery-shopping (up here, they call it “food-shopping). I have three places I park the truck, in non-Winter months: Either down off the driveway, below (our house is on a hill, or maybe better put, within a hill, with the garage way down below, and the floors of the house progressing up the hill, if that makes sense), underneath a cedar tree, right behind a stand of sumac trees (not the poisonous ones), which shield the house from the road. That’s my normal non-Winter parking spot, as I like to walk around the house, up the hill to the back yard, to enjoy the yard and flowers, making my way around, behind the house, to the front porch. I could also decide to trek up the 3 flights of steps, separated by level walking paths, up to the front porch, but I like the long walk around back. A second favorite parking spot is way out back, behind the house, past the yard, “up in the trees,” where I’ll park under one of my favorite trees, a beautiful blue spruce, with wide branches, perfect for parking underneath, especially if rain is forecast for the weekend. The third spot is up by the porch, and, sometimes, like this particular weekend, I’d just left the truck there. It is a shady spot as well, as, just beyond the truck, is a large bank, which is topped by several large spruce trees making the property border. The trees cover the entire property line, all the way to where the bank drops down to the street. I anxiously look forward to parking at any of these three places, because that means it’s not Winter. It is a big moment in the Spring when I can park outside … it is a statement of sorts, that Winter is finally over, and I can park outside! Only those who live up here know what I mean when I say we have a “Summer entrance” and a “Winter entrance,” meaning the steps going from the driveway to the porch. Of course … I could shovel all of the 25 steps, constantly throughout the Winter, but … I’m ok with just parking in the garage …
Anyway, it’s a really big deal to be able to park outside!
Back to the first Monday morning in November:

I knew that there had been a large storm, the power was out, and I had to wait until daylight to see if there was any wind damage. I could see from the porch that 3 of the sumac trees, down off the driveway were down … they were large enough to cover an area from the cedar tree, where I would have normally parked, to halfway across the driveway. We had lost some of these trees before in a wind storm, but this was more intense. Had I parked underneath the cedar, as usual, they would have landed on the truck.

Once it got to be daylight, I then was able to see beyond the truck, to the bank of trees. The last two trees in the row closest to the street had fallen … these were huge spruce trees … huge … and, they had landed … perfectly … between the truck and the bank. You just couldn’t place them any better. They had fallen, side-by-side … not down the bank (which would have gone through the house, crushing the truck, as well) … but, had fallen long-ways, along the center of the bank … perfectly between the house and truck, and the bank. The edge of the limbs had missed the side mirror of the truck by a few inches. Perfectly placed.

It was only when I was leaving the house, that I looked in the back yard, as I passed by the back garage door, and looked out its window: That beautiful blue spruce, which was my favorite tree, which I was so proud to park under, had been blown over. It had been uprooted by the high winds, and was stuck in the limbs of a tall pine tree, leaning over, waiting to complete its journey to the earth. If I had parked there, as I would normally have in the case of a rainy weekend like this one, it would have come down on top of the truck.

It is so true, that old saying we’ve all heard, especially in times of great anguish:
“Jesus doesn’t promise there won’t be storms. He promises that He will be with you in the storm.” Yet again … once again … I had to report, as I’ve done so often: If there was ever, any doubt that God’s hand was on me … this proves, beyond a doubt … How many times have I, and you, said the same thing? So often, we see God’s protection. This was just another great example.

I had to get to town to buy a chainsaw. For the first time, and I’ve seen some pretty bad storms up here, roads were blocked. A stream, on the way to where Carol works, had flooded, and I mean it was over the bridge, and across the road. No one I know had seen that before. There were other sights I saw which was a first was for me, and for those who had lived here their whole lives. I saw water up to windows. I saw streets become streams … but … I had to make it to Wal-Mart! Some may get offended by that statement, but please understand the humor there … I mean, we don’t have 100 stores to choose from. Often, we have no other stores to choose from … anyway, Walmart had no electricity, and the generators weren’t working, so they were closed. On to Tractor Supply! Tractor Supply was open, sort-of … their door was open, but they had no electricity. But, they had employees with flashlights, and could take cash or credit (no registers), using the old “slide” manual credit card “machine.” And … they had one chain saw left … not the brand I would have chosen, but a chain saw with a 22” bar!

So, I was able to clear the driveway of the sumac trees, that afternoon. The power finally came back on. I knew many who didn’t have electricity for a week, and, the damage from the storm was far-reaching and immense. I was blessed in so many ways. It would take me a couple of weeks to clear the big spruce trees from the bank, and, don’t you know … I had to do it between snow-storms (this was November, after all!). It would be the weekend of Thanksgiving before I could cut up the spruce trees from the bank. I made 9 beautiful stacks of split wood. The big, beautiful blue spruce in the back is still hanging on, suspended. There’s been too much snow to work on it, as I’ll need the truck to help “yank it,” which I’ll have to handle when Carol’s not around to witness. I have a plan, though … I’m glad she wasn’t there when the chain came off the saw, and landed in the middle of my right thigh!

In the meantime, that’s just an example of God’s protecting hand. There were other cases this past year, and, even a miracle or two which I experienced over the Christmas break, in the middle of all that record-breaking cold. But, for now, I’ll report this one incident, as I continue to wonder … what has God kept us from … that we don’t even know about?

Once again, I am so thankful to report that God’s promises are true. That there isn’t anything He can’t do. In any kind of weather. I’m thankful that we always have something (s) to be thankful for.
In any kind of weather.

Blessing to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part 19: “I Can Read!”

Hi Friends:
As the author of the continuing series “Wealth Stored for the Righteous,” I am always thinking about things we are blessed with, yet seem, so often, to take for granted.

Only recently, while in prayer, I “just happened to remember” that I was thankful for … the ability to read … What a tremendous blessing, just to be able to pick up a book, a piece of paper, see a sign or billboard … and, be able to read all of the words. What a blessing this is. Even as I prayed, thankfully, for this ability and gift, I was surprised how seldom I had actually, physically, said “thank you” for this ability and gift.

Eventually, we’ll get to the “Freedom of the Press” we enjoy in this country (which so many around the world don’t have), but, for now, I’m just thankful that I can read.

I’m thankful that I was raised to appreciation the written word. To appreciation books. And, to appreciation authors. In fact, I can remember spending many, many hours with my brothers and sisters playing the card game of “Authors.” Remember that game? I’ll try to remember to write an “I Remember” feature story on the game.

Once again, I find myself being thankful for the way I was raised.

It’s true: Parents who read have children who read. Parents who love books will have children who love books.
Yes, you could say the same thing about prayer, but, for now, the emphasis is on the example set by parents, to instill within their children the love of books, and of reading.

Could the following just be a coincidence?
Is it a coincidence that my first side job, after moving to the North Country, was at the College Bookstore?
Is it a coincidence that, after earning my Degree in Theology, I would earn Certification as a Library Media Specialist?
Is it a coincidence that, just today, I left the High School Library, traveled to another Library, and discussed “Library” for 3 hours?
Is it a coincidence that all of my siblings also have large book collections?
Is it a coincidence that these same siblings buy and sell used books, and I consider them to be experts in finding valuable books?
The list goes on and on, but I’ll just add this one:
Many writers, and other public figures, name their homes.
Before moving to the North Country (an operation we code-named “Operation Iceberg”), we named our home “Destiny.”
Yes, Destiny.
Do you know what our School Library Inventory/Collection Management Program/System is called?
Destiny.

By the way, my Beloved Sister had one of the largest collections of books I’ve ever seen. Among my most prized possessions are many of those books, tucked away, yes, but still I have them … has it been that long ago??? … I still have those books, and, sometimes, I’ll open up one of the totes, get out a book, yes, smell the pages, check out the pages for all of those passages she had underlined, and made “side-notes” beside … and … and … just clutch them … hold them … lovingly … tenderly … to my chest … I may not actively read them, but I will always have them … I will always have them …

There are so many quotes about the importance of books, both to the individual, and to society as a whole.
The same can be said about the value of reading.
I’ll mention just one, and, even though it’s so obvious, either I couldn’t remember who first said it, or it was just an original quote I thought I had first come up with:
“Readers are Leaders.” I’ve used this for years, even to the point of printing bookmarks with this quote on it.
After researching this quote, I found a longer version from President Harry S. Truman:
“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”

I don’t remember hearing this quote before, and, just now, located the source. While not remembering if I’d ever heard the original quote or not, I do know this: While reading several “self-help/self-improvement/inspirational-motivational books, I did learn that one quality which all successful men share, is that they are readers. So, that must have been where I got the idea, first, for my “short-quote.”

Again, this is not, necessarily, about books, the right or wrong kind of books … just the fact that it is such a blessing to be able to have the ability to read, and, having just this one ability, can lead to so much further blessing, understanding, and action.

So, as I researched this, I did the Google Search:
“What percentage of the world’s population can read?”

The number is somewhere around 80%. That sounds, on the surface, really good. However (why is there always an “however?), this still means that there are well over 700 Million people around the world who can’t read. Closer to home, I also learned that over 32 Million Americans can’t read. There are a lot of statistics out there, but I was especially troubled by a statistic I read that stated that around 80% of US families did not buy a book in the last year.

By the way, yes, I do enjoy audio books. Especially if they are “dramatized versions.” Just thought I’d throw that in. In fact, at some point, the plan is to produce our own audio books.
I am asked, often, how I personally feel about Digital Books. For simplicity, let’s call them “Kindle” Books.

I can appreciate their purpose, and understand why so many people enjoy them. The “night light,” the fact that they can change (meaning to enlarge) the size of the print, and they can carry an entire Library on one, small device.

However (there’s that word again), I guess I’m just from the Old School. I love the smell of the pages. I love the feel of the book. I love turning the pages. I love placing the bookmark, closing the book, and, lovingly, placing the book where I can see it … looking forward to the next time I can get back to it. I love the smell of the pages (I may have already written that). I have even noticed that the smell of the pages have changed over time. The other day, I was going through a collection of books from the 1960’s and 70’s, and, well, of course, I brought the book up to my face, thumbed through the pages at “nose-length,” and … just the memories it brought back.

I really love the Bible on … on … let’s just say, “Audio Bible.” I was going to write “Bible on Tape,” or “Bible on Cassette,” but many of our audience may not know what that is. I even have Sermons on LP/Album/Record … but, I won’t go there, for the same reason.

Here’s a short rhyme I just got:
“God’s Word is meant to be heard.”
Of course, I agree … but, it is also meant to be read.
Pray More.
Study More.
Be More.

A final thought about Digital Bibles: There are many places where someone would be arrested, even killed, for reading a Bible in public. However … in these places, digital Bibles can be read, without anyone noticing. This is a large ministry, worldwide, in those nations (so many, many of them) which are hostile/dangerous to Christians.

Once again, I remind that this is not about freedom, necessarily, but the ability to, read. I’m thinking that that’s something “they can’t take away.”

You know how you’ll go to the Mall, and everyone splits up … to meet again in, like, 3 hours?
I’m the one, who, 3 hours later … is still at the Book Store.
Just drop me off at the Book Store … I’m not ashamed of that. In fact, I’m proud of that.
To hold a book.
To smell a book.
To carry a book into the Repair Shop, and not worry about “how long it takes.”
I’m not ashamed of that. I’m proud of that.
I can read.

Oh … okay … there is one more quote I’d like to share with you. I even have this on a tee shirt, hanging behind me, at the Library.
It is a quote from Mark Twain, and I write it now, from memory:
“The man who does not read good books, has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”

I am so blessed … just to have the ability to read. I thank God that “I can read!”
Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Here’s a direct link to the entire series so far:
Wealth Stored for the Righteous

 

The Power of “Posts:” Part Four

Hi Friends:

I guess it’s about time to share the original idea behind what has turned into this short series.

The original idea, and original post, was scheduled to be written in time for the New Year’s holiday. It was to only be one “post,”
what I am sharing now … but, as you know … things change when confronted with the keyboard … and the words begin to flow …

Regardless of the time of year, I only hope to be an instrument used to share what I am given, for that particular time … even if I didn’t know I was to share it … which, so often, results in the expansion of one “post,” as now, into multiple “posts.” I hope to continue to be sensitive to what God wants me to share … even if … even if … that over-rides my own, original idea …

So, anyway, it was the end of last year, 2016. I found a great “verse” at the very end of the year … at the very back of the calendar … which, I thought would make a wonderful verse to share with you. A great message to share with you, as we approach the New Year.
Well … today is the 1st day of March … so, maybe, I’m not so far behind …

The verses and quotes on my own calendar, as I’ve written, have meant so much to me, as I go through each month. So often, the verse or quote has helped me, and encouraged me, many times, many days, over that particular month. I still encourage you to give these types of calendars as gifts … You just never know … who is reading them … and, who will read them …

As I’ve written, my new calendar has already blessed me this year. Which reminds me, as I look up at the calendar, it still says February. Guess it’s time to “turn the page.” But, not before one more glimpse of that beautiful Mountain Scene … big, snow-covered mountains in the background …
and, yes, of course … the lake in front … with the mountains perfectly reflected in the lake … (Don’t you love that!!!) …

It’s now on to March … and, guess what? There’s a beautiful mountain scene, with a lake in the forefront … but, no reflection … Why? Because the lake has ripples … knocking out the mirror … because … of the waterfall … on the right side of the picture … I agree … next to the ‘ol “mountains reflected in the lake” scene … I’d have to say a waterfall in the picture is right up there with the “mirror lake” in popularity on these scenes …
I’m glad, because I love them, too.
I now “steal” a glance at the Scripture verse, from Psalms 145:9:
“The Lord is good to all:
And His tender mercies are over all His works.”
That’s a good one!
Oh, man! Another dentist appointment on the 16th!

I’m so glad His works include mountains, lakes, and waterfalls!
He made ‘em all, you know.
By His Word.
That’s awesome. I’m glad I have all four (mountains, lakes, waterfalls, and His Word) on display in my home … every day.
For all to see.
Because … you never know … who may see …

Now, “Back to the Back.” The verse, on the back of the calendar, which my original intention was to share with you, is printed on the cardboard backing of the calendar. I wonder how many people have thrown out this calendar without reading what was written on the cardboard backing. You know I can’t be guilty of this … because … here it is … March 1 … and I still have the calendar in front of me.

The calendar was published/printed by the “DaySpring” Company, one of the leading Christian retail businesses. As a courtesy, I will share a link to their online store. Again, I hope that everyone who purchased this calendar, or, as I, received this calendar as a gift, read the verse/message, written there on the cardboard backing of the calendar.
Here is a direct link to DaySpring:
DaySpring

Quoting directly from the calendar backing:
“Here is a message written by DaySpring co-founder, Roy Lessin.
We hope it will encourage you today.”

When I read the verse/message, I knew I had to share it with you … “immediately” …
The great thing about “Good News” is that … it is Good … and, can be shared any time of the year. After all, I pray God’s blessings on
you, and your family, for every day of the year … not just at certain times …

Here’s the Message, quoted directly from the cardboard backing of this DaySpring 2016 Calendar, as written by Roy Lessin:

Just think,
You’re here not by chance,
But by God’s choosing.
His hand formed you
And made you
The person you are.
He compares you to no one else-
You are one of a kind.
You lack nothing
That His grace can’t give you.
He has allowed you to be here
At this time in history
to fulfill His special purpose
for this generation.”

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
ECCLESIASTES 3:1

Yes, the cardboard backing ends with the Scripture verse from Ecclesiastes.

I encourage you to read, and re-read, this message.
Now, and always.

Blessings to you, and your family,
Today. And, every day.
Richard. Vincent. Rose.