Almost everything I know about document processing has been learned by trial and error. Back in 1997, my son-in-law introduced me to my first computer. He built it out of odds and ends of computers that had been dumped on his dad, and gave me a starter kit, so to speak. It was Windows 3.1 when the icons were actually on little window panes on the monitor. I paid a whole $150 for the starter and I do think I bought a new printer for my “new” operation. All I had to learn on was what Gary taught me verbally and a big yellow book called, Windows 3.1 for Dummies. I studied that book during my lunch breaks and carried it with me to read whenever I could slip in a few minutes. It was my computer knowledge lifeline.
My main goal was to learn document processing and the big yellow book was my guide. Now, twenty years later I am operating via Window 10 and there is a self-built guide on our operating system. I still rely heavily on Gary when something goes whacky though. This morning, I was merrily writing a letter to one of my grandchildren who lives far away and a flash and a clap of thunder swallowed my document. The house went dark momentarily. When I rebooted the system in a few minutes and opened my document file, there it was, asking if I wanted to recover. Ah, yes. It was nice to not have to do it all over.
The Windows 3.1 for Dummies is a simile for the first little Bible we give our children. Then as we mature in our Christian walk, we move up to a Bible with notes and a nice big concordance. Along the way, I added some Greek study to my repertoire and my computer has a version of e-sword. If you are a Bible scholar, consider loading e-sword onto your system. I find it very valuable.
The main thing is that when a bolt of lightning from the world, flesh, or devil strikes, we can recover. We do not need to remain in darkness and despair. We are temporarily stopped, but able to reboot. My good Shepherd will never leave me lying lifeless in the grass. Darkness need not cover me for my good Shepherd is also the Light of the world.
The weather was a pleasant and sunny day. For that reason, I decided to take a few things out to my storage shed. I also strayed from my intended job to pick up some fallen branches and sticks in the yard. To my delight, I also inspected some plants growing in the flower beds already. Upon entering the back door, well, I didn’t. The door locked behind me when I left, or so it seemed, and of course, the front door was deliberately locked.
My cell phone is inside, of course. I have such nice neighbors! I went next door to borrow the phone to call my daughter. She has an extra key to my front door and lives less than a mile away. Fortunately, my grandson came with a key. I then discovered that the back door was stuck, not locked. A little WD-40 corrected the problem. My friends tell me that I should hide a key outside so that doesn’t happen again.
A day is coming when I will joyfully enter Heaven’s gate. It will not be locked and there I will be reunited with family and friends who have entered ahead of me. No, I will not be locked out. Jesus said, “I am the Door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” Jesus paid it all for your entrance. There are not enough good things you can do to purchase entry. Put your faith and trust in Jesus; He is the door.
That is one key I will not hide from you. Jesus is the only way. In the same chapter 10 of John, Jesus also said of Himself, “I am the Good Shepherd. . .” and I daily walk in His presence.
Over the years, I have developed a method for remembering tasks that are standing in need of action. Now that I no longer work daily, things get away from me. My tickle file piles up because I do not look at it regularly enough. This is not a new idea. Abraham Lincoln used a similar system by jotting ideas down and sticking them into his hatband. Mine just land in a haphazard pile.
Here is an example of my actual pile that I gathered together this morning: a list of grandchildren’s birth years, a list of basic temperaments, (tossed now) various telephone numbers, various prayer requests (now put into a proper place), names of classmates I had in 1954 (now put with a scrapbooking pile), a joke I used two weeks ago, various scripture references, (now used and can be discarded) an e-mail address, a web site address, (keep this one) a quote by Dr. Ben Carson, (keep) Bible study notes on Noah(used, can toss), a vocabulary word to master (not yet done), a recipe for natural ingredients for weed killer, a book title to read, blog ideas, a sentence I diagramed (toss), and finally, notes on how to yodel.
Some of these, as I indicated, are now in file 13, and some are put into their own category of piles, and some are set aside to organize further today into a document file that already exists, and some will stay, as in learning how to yodel.
The point of all this is that there is a motto that states, “Plan your work and work your plan.” It is a good motto. It also works hand in hand with Ephesians 5:16 which states, “Redeeming the time for the days are evil.” It is very difficult to stay idle with a tickle file as well as a do-do list, and the always shopping list. Give organization and priority to life.
Someday, I will learn how to yodel successfully. Then I can sing along with Roy Rogers on my Pandora station.
Editors Ralph E. Weber and Ralph A. Weber produced a volume of letter taken from the files at the Reagan Presidential Library, The book is published by Doubleday Press, New York, New York in 2003. The volume I read was a large-print edition published by Thorndike Press, 2004. Because it is large print, the book is 656 pages.
The letters were originally handwritten in response to letters written to President Reagan by private citizens and divided into the years of his presidency, 1981-1989. The last letter was written on January 17, 1989 just three days before the inauguration of incoming president, George H.W. Bush.
One of the most interesting narratives in the book is the accumulation of letters to a young boy in Washington D.C named Ruddy. Reagan wrote to Ruddy in a rather “Uncle” like fashion sometimes gently rebuking him for not studying or following his mother’s wishes, and other times giving Ruddy a pat on the back for achievements. It was refreshing to see the interaction between the two of them. Reagan refers to Ruddy as his pen pal. Ruddy is featured in a picture in the center of the book when President and Mrs. Reagan visited Ruddy at his home and brought him a jar of jelly beans.
Some letters are answers to letters regarding political choices the President had made. Ever so carefully Reagan responded with reasons and never degraded any of his questioners. He did from time to time rebuke the press for uncomely and sometimes vicious lies about him and let the writer’s know that they had been given a false narrative.
Included at random throughout the book are thank you letters to personal friends and family. One thank you goes out to some lady neighbors of his in California who sent him leather works and he talks about his ranch. Others are replies to children who ask him about his horse. Still others are to a whole class of third-grade students who sent him jelly beams. He expressed to a cousin, Bess, that he found it best to mention her birthday as the “47th anniversary of her 39th birthday.”
Several letters mention newspaper clippings that the sender mailed along with the letter. He expresses genuine gratitude. Most of the letters sign off with “Sincerely” but some end with a friendly, “Best Regards,” and most use the signature, Ronald Reagan, but to friends and family, Ron. To college friends, he signs off as “Dutch” or “Ronnie.”
I found this book in my public library on the 973 shelves. I predict this book will be on shelves for a good long time. The selection of letters by the editors show both a serious and a warm-hearted President whom I will always know in my mind as the Great Communicator.
Since I gave up driving of my own accord before I hurt someone due to my poor vision, I use either the Senior Services transportation or our local public transportation. There are two things I have observed: conversation is sometimes initiated by me rather than by the drivers or other passengers. The other thing is that in an effort to be an interesting conversationalist, I keep up with current events around the community and, of course, the nation and world. The conversation can start with, “Did you hear. . .” and then usually takes a course of its own.
In the news recently we heard about Iran’s testing of ICBMs and I wanted to know more. Testing my new-found topic of interest, I brought it up in conversation. I opened a wonderful conversation in that I happened to have a driver who had served in the U.S. Navy during the 1980’s, He was very well versed in the subject. Out of interest to his response I asked him where he was stationed. He became awkwardly quiet. He gave me the name of someplace in Alaska then said, I can’t say much more on that. I really don’t want to go to Leavenworth. After all these years, he is still carrying classified information. Wow!
Still thinking back to that conversation, I am ever so glad that the Word of God is not classified information. Yet, there are cities that pass ordinances that restrict the flow of conversations around the Word of God. Schools can’t use public prayer in many locations and teachers snatch Bibles away from their students as if it were a dangerous book. From time to time I hear about suspensions given to students or teachers who stand for the Word of God.
The Bible is not a dangerous book. It is a book of life and the source of instruction for holy living. At least right now, no one is going to haul me away for sharing the Way, the Truth, and the Life found in Christ. May I, and you too, be fearless about sharing God’s Powerful Word.
This morning big, fluffy snowflakes were falling outside. I really don’t mind that kind of snow. It is pretty, it covers the dingy colored landscape, and is even fairly easy to walk in. I recall a wonderful date I had in college with a fellow when we went for a long walk, I do mean LONG, in one of those fluffy snowfalls. For information, I attended a college in Minnesota. Snowfalls were not foreign to either of us.
The accumulation of those fluffy snowflakes means work. Shoveling or sweeping them off the porch is sometimes challenging and time consuming. In spite of the effort, when the driveway is clear and the walkways are open, I like to see the paths that have been carved out of a ten-inch snowfall.
A term that has generated in the last election cycle is somewhat troubling. Rising from mostly news commentary is a term, “snowflakes” that refers to a segment of the population that tends to feel entitled. They also are demanding. They demand that there be “safe spaces” from criticism. Safe places where only certain language can be used and free speech is squelched. To me, the description makes me envision a toddler in a tantrum. Even if left alone to sulk it out, they refuse to be appeased. They are snowflakes: fragile little things that melt at the touch of a 98.6 degree body. If we are not always politically correct, they will just melt into a puddle. This is simple craziness.
Now, I can be direct and hard-nosed about treating tantrums. A person having a hissy fit over a small infraction will get nothing from me, and nothing for a LONG time. But, while we should hold firm to principle values, we also need to follow the principle found in Ephesians 4:15. That verse, which is a division of a long sentence that begins in verse 10 is instruction from Paul to the Ephesian church on how to conduct themselves when the winds of deceit blow. Verse 14 indicates that those who were being deceived by false doctrine were acting like children instead of maturing Believers. Paul uses the connector, but to show contrast. Believers who are more mature should speak the truth, but speak it in love. Truth is firm. We must be firm in what we believe, but at the same time, speak it in love.
Let’s do that. If we don’t we will be wading through puddles created by melting snowflakes.
I very seldom publish the day I write something. I usually give it the 24-hour test and cold edit. Not so this time. This is probably a potential four-blog post rolled into one and none of them fully developed. Venting, maybe? Certainly random thoughts!
Noah. This week I planned a one-time lesson on Noah. Noah the man, not Noah and the Flood. I serve two groups per week with Bible study or devotional material. Group one is at the local Active Adult Center and the participants are very cognitive so I go deep with them. Group two is at a nursing home where I serve a variety of dementia bearing folks. A small fraction of the participants is fairly cognitive and are either recovering from a hospital stay or have other physical problem that require 24-hour care. I had group two this morning. I was not sure how I was going to approach this group because they can’t take very many details. Oh, how sweet the Holy Spirit served me and them. It was my plan to bring in the fact that the Flood was a period of God’s judgment but how to do that with group two I was not confident. Then it came right out of my mouth, and heart, as I was teaching that we all face hardships and judgments that are part of our culture. Drought, for instance, affects the whole area. God does not rain on just the gardens of the righteous. But the righteous survive just as Noah survived the Flood. If the economy tanks, the righteous carry the same money in their accounts as the unrighteous, sometimes less. But God sees that they survive.
Brownies: You may have heard or read the story about the father who denied his teens to spend time with other teens at the movies. He did not approve. The teens complained that it was “just a little violence, just a little language,” etc. so the father made a point by making them brownies with just a “little” dog feces in them. Yuk! The illustration goes another direction from the story’s application. It is the little slip of the tongue in words akin to cussing, or a little moment of questionable music within hearing of a weaker brother, or just an article of clothing that is a bit too clingy, and what have we done? We have put dog poo in our testimony. The world watches us more carefully than we can ever imagine.
Politics: I met a new resident at the nursing home today. I’d guess him to be about 75 years old. His dementia made him a challenging conversationalist. The television was playing and the news is full of inauguration stories. I dared to approach the subject and did I ever get an earful! Here is a man advanced in years who hates our in-coming President and called him all manner of evil names! Lack of civility in political exchange is nothing new, is it? Thinking back on it, lack of civility probably died in the Garden of Eden.
Public Transportation: My failing eyesight and then having a cranky car coupled has put me to riding public transportation. There are so many interesting people who ride the bus—I am finding it an adventure all its own. It is also a mission field. Today as the bus wound its way through a neighborhood I thought I’d count houses and then multiply houses by a supposed number of occupants as four. You know what? The harvest fields are white unto harvest. Pews are warmed on Sunday mornings, but shoe leather needs to tread those neighborhoods because people are not coming to church to find Jesus, Christians must take Jesus to them. Churches are getting apathetic while souls are falling into eternal darkness.
Just a few random thoughts.
My mother often used the proverb, “There is no rest for the wicked” and I suppose that I picked it up from her. Mom was full of idioms and proverbs. Many a student of mine shook their heads wondering what some idiom I had just quoted meant. It is just part of me. Frankly, it seems I just can’t help myself from blurting out some little gem of homespun wisdom.
Yesterday I found the foundation for the aforementioned proverb. Isaiah 48:22 states, “There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.” And it is repeated almost word for word in Isaiah 57:21. I suppose the words from the Bible were a bit distorted to be used as rest rather than peace in the 1930’s where I dug up an old comic strip with the title, “No Rest for the Wicked” by Harold Gray, cartoonist for Little Orphan Annie.
I know very little and don’t really want to know much, about the music of the 1980’s when a song of the same title is popularized. One thing I do know for sure is that neighborhoods where crime abounds have no peace or rest. Neither can those neighborhoods be changed by prosperity. Rage, crime, and marital disenchantment can be cured only by the changed heart that is turned from wickedness to righteousness by the saving gospel of Jesus.
When I am settling down for a snooze and the phone rings, and I mutter, “there is no rest for the wicked; I must be very wicked. . .” as I pick up the call, perhaps my own heart will remember the words of Isaiah instead. Isaiah gave me a new outlook yesterday. A better outlook. Coupled with the words of Jesus in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled nor let it be afraid,” there is an overcoming peace and rest. In Jesus I can rest while I work and I am clothed in His righteousness for I have none of my own.
Recently, someone remarked to me that her grandmother would be horrified to hear someone actually ask people to underline something in their personal Bible. Really? Yes, I believe we should show respect for our personal copies of the Bible, but marking in a book makes it mine. I refrain from marking in a borrowed book, but what makes a book mine is the notes in the margin and underlined passages that stood out to me as I read.
What about an electronic Bible? Oh, the Bible on my Kindle® is very colorful with the choices the highlighting gives me. I cross reference in the notes, and if I use the electronic Bible in church, it is easy to take sermon notes. I suspect that one of the treasured items that my children might fuss about after my death is who gets my Bible. Frankly, I think a grandchild should be the next owner. Time will tell if I make that decision in advance.
Another marking I make in the margins is a guide of sorts. For about 26 years I carried and studied a Thompson Chain Reference Bible. When the print became too small to easily read, the large print Bible I took on had very few references of any kind. Here is a sort of guide if any of you wanted to take on the habit of reference marking: A is for mention of angels, CN is for mention of creation, P references a Bible promise, C is for a Bible command, CP is for a conditional promise, W refers to warning, and RS stands for Red Sea crossing. I added the RS two years ago, when I noticed the frequency of God’s reminder to the Jews that time is marked from that time forward in the establishment of their own country. Prior to the Egyptian bondage, God referred to the land as belonging to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Whatever your goals are for Bible reading or Bible study this coming year, above all, just read it. Make reading it a part of your daily habits. When I was in college, 50+ years ago, now, I determined to make the Bible my first reading of the day. No newspaper, assignment, or note from a friend took over first place. Today, it is Facebook. The Bible still gets first place. Jesus, speaking tenderly with his disciples in John 15 tells them, “Now ye are clean through the words that I have spoken unto you.” When we handle the Word of God we are handling a quick and powerful tool. Quick, here means living. I do not question why or how, but I know it to be true that as stated in Hebrews 4:12 it is a “. . . a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Picture yourself walking in a quiet meadow with Jesus while you are reading the Bible. The Good Shepherd is speaking.
Yes, I am one of those people who occasionally sits down with a book of poetry to read just for pleasure. I can’t write it at all! I depend on those to understand the metical value of words. This morning I came across this poem with which I am familiar, however, I did not know the significance of these lines to the people of the British Crown. Here is the link to the story.