Do No Work (book review)

Do No Work: Beat Burnout, Find Inner Peace, and Strengthen Your Faith By Studying the Most Overlooked of the Ten Commandments, by Andrew Gilmore is published by Sequoyah Trails Press Copyright 2014. It is a short work but filled with a wealth of information that folks, like myself, have been searching for many years.

Here in one place is a thorough examination of the fourth commandment: “Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy.”  That is the short version.  The commandment goes on regarding work and rest. Gilmore explores and expounds Exodus 20:8-11 with passion, yet remains profound.  Among the points Gilmore sprinkles in a bit of humor to break he intensity.  The tone of the book is persuasive without being edgy.  The language he uses is easy to understand and is not presented in theological terms that only a seminary student can understand. In one word, the description would be practical.

The motivation to read this book came a few weeks ago when my seasoned auditorium class teacher boldly proclaimed that we really were only held to nine commandments and that the fourth commandment was obsolete.  Had he looked directly at me he would have seen shock.  I’m not sure I heard another word he said that day.  The command to rest is so important.  God rested after Creation, after all.  This book holds so much more than that one thesis.  It describes what rest is and leads the reader to remember the eternal rest that lies before us. It described labor for what it is.  The book lays out in plain view the myths that so many Christians hold on to regarding the fourth commandment.

You will find this little jewel of a book on Amazon.com and if you use an e reader, it is easy and reasonably priced to download. I found it available also on http://andrewgilmore.net and it is likely in bookstores as well. It won’t take you long to read, but, I predict, you will think about the contents of this book for a good long time.  It is a “keeper.”

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Martin Van Buren 1782-1862 (book review)

Martin Van Buren is written by Jim Hargrove under the consultation of Charles Abele, Ph.D.  The book is found in the Juvenile section of my public library with the other Encyclopedia of Presidents books.
The book is 100 pages in length and written in fifth or sixth grade level.    It is published by Children’s Press, Chicago, IL with a 1987 copyright.

This is book number 20 in my pursuit to read a biography of every American President. I chose to read a compact book on Van Buren because I wanted to find in a children’s version a fair rendering of his accomplishments.  I was surprised to find several negative inclusions in his life’s story even in this edition.  Frankly, I came into reading this book with a negative attitude about him from other biographies I had already read.  Fillmore, who served five presidents later had disagreed with Van Buren on many occasions.  They were both from New York state and lived lives that collided in politics.  Most of the time, authors of children’s books are unbiased.

Hargrove gives the basic details of any biography:  place of birth, parentage, early education and what principles drove the person who is the subject.   It was not far into the book that Hargrove mentions that Van Buren was not a strong public speakers and always felt insecure in public speaking because he knew that his command of the English language needed help.  Van Buren, like many politicians, went into the practice of law.  It was not long before his longings leaned into the realm of public office.  He started by running for a Senate seat which he won.

In the Senate, he perfected an art in politics that is still used today:  patronizing.  While not ever done in the public eye, he mastered the art of back-room, dark-of-night haggling that eventually developed into the heart of the Democrat party.  Throughout his entire public career, later as governor of New York state and into the cabinet as Secretary of State, he was famous for his ability to be a “fence sitter.”

Van Buren served as Vice President under Andrew Jackson who was a larger-then-life figure that forced Van Buren to live in that tall shadow.  The closing line of the book tells so much about the compromising status of this eighth president:  “He had discovered at last, that there were no more fences to sit upon.”

Near the end of his life, Van Buren changed his stance on slavery and did all he could to support the Republican candidate,  Abraham Lincoln.  He blamed President Buchanan of letting the country slip into a Civil War. That surprised me since Buchanan was a Democrat.  Van Buren had worked so very diligently at forming the Democrat party but in the end, his personal principles did not allow him to be loyal at all cost.  I give him credit for that.

As children’s books go, I think this book will be on library shelves for many years to come.  It is fairly written and a good book from which junior aged students can find valuable research wit out having to wade through so many details.  The book is not laden with campaign details. It does, however, cover facts the brought on the depression by the Panic of 1837.  It would be good for students to understand the cause of that first major depression in our country’s history.  If you want a short, yet informational read on our eighth president, look in the children’s section of your public library.

Next in line according to interest is Grover Cleveland.  He held two four-year terms, however, the terms were not consecutive.  I am about to find out why.

 

 

 

Deborah, Barak, Sisera, and Jael

I meet weekly with a group for a half-hour devotional at my local Active Adult Center (Senior Center to most) and I usually include an inspirational story.  Today, however, I used the story straight from the pages of Judges 4 and 5.  Here it is:

Now, here’s the story.  (from a story teller’s point of view)          King Jabin is oppressing the Hebrews during a time when they should be completing the job that Joshua started.  You see, instead of conquering the land God had promised them, and doing so decisively, they wander off in heart and intermarry with the enemy!  The enemy worshiped idols of rocks, ancestors, statues, and other stuff.  The idol worshiping spouses demanded equal worship and soon the Hebrews were cold hearted in their love for the Lord who promised them this land.           In order to draw them back to the task at hand, God made them uncomfortable.  The theme of Judges, after all, is “they did that which was right in their own eyes” and did not have a sensitive spirit toward God.  Now, it wasn’t just short periods of chilled hearts, it sometimes lasted 40 years or more before they finally said, “God, please get us out of this mess!”

Seeing a time of repentance on hand, Deborah, the fourth  judge had a heart for God  She called for Barak (verse 6) and told him in no uncertain terms that he needed to get himself collected and fearless to face a battle with Sisera!  Barak, said, “If YOU go with me, Deborah, I’ll go, but that’s the only way I’m facing those iron chariots.”  I can see his manly jaw set firm.  He probably thought with that statement this sweet, well-loved lady would not pack up and go with him.  He was wrong.

He calls together 10,000 foot soldiers and away they go to face 900 iron chariots pulled by horses that would trample them.  Deborah assured him that God was going to take down Sisera, and King Jabin.  She also added that Barak would not get any glory.  The glory, she prophesized, would instead go to a woman.  At that point, he probably thought Deborah was being a bit “uppity” because he probably thought she was referring to herself.  He was wrong.

The battle ensues and God does fight for them.  The Bible clearly says in verse 15 that “the Lord routed Sisera’s army. . .”  Remember, I dubbed Sisera as a coward?  When Sisera saw his army falling like flies, he jumped out of his chariot and runs away!  The battle was fairly close to the town where Heber and Jael live.  He runs there for sanctuary.  Ah, but recall, Heber is a double agent!  Heber is not home that day.  Jael, however, welcomes him into her tent.  Sisera foolishly trusts her.  She tells him to rest, take a nap, and provides him with a blanket.  Nice lady.  He asks for a drink and instead of water, she gives him milk.  How hospitable!  That warm milk, and a blanket, and supposed safety put him into a sound sleep.

Jael tip toes around near the door and is scheming.  What to do, what to do.  Seeing a tent stake, and a big ol’ hammer she has a plan.  She has Israel’s enemy and why should she wait to do away with him?  Softly, ever so softly, she places that long, sharp tent stake over his sleeping temple.  If she was squeamish about it, we will never know, but in one mighty blow of the hammer the stake goes through his head, and nails it to the floor of the tent. Now what?  Sisera is lying in a pool of blood in her tent.  She leaves the mess, and who does she see!  She sees Barak who is looking for Sisera, tracking him down.  “Over here,” she calls, “I have something to show you!”  Did she ever!  The Bible tells it like this:  “Come, I will show you the man whom ye seek.”  There is a connotation of satisfaction here.  Finality.  I wish I could be a “fly on the wall” here and make up stuff, but I won’t.

The simple truth is that God often uses means we would never be able to anticipate.  When Deborah foretold that a woman would get credit, she just knew that from God.  She didn’t know how God would do it.  So it is with us.  We face complex problems.  God has promised to solve our problems and give us joy.  Let Him do it.

 

Reoccurring Kittens

We all dream, right?  Sometimes dreams make sense and are something lingering in our subconscious mind, so I am told. Sometimes dreams turn into frightening scenes that awaken us in a drenching sweat.  Most of the time, our dreams are just plain silly.

Last night I dreamed that our family had a cat that had a litter of kittens. Now, that is not unusual.  In fact, our family did have a cat that we thought was too young to produce kittens but alas, she got herself in the family way.  She had a litter of four adorable black and white kitties.   When the time came that the kitties could be fine without the mother, I made a sign on a piece of cardboard and put it by the mailbox at the end of the driveway.  One by one the kitties found forever homes until the last one.  He lingered for about two weeks and I gave up and tossed the sign away.

The day I tossed the sign away, someone came to the door and asked about the free kittens.  Their family had just lost their cat and she needed to soothe the children.  When she saw the little guy, she fell in love with him immediately and we were done.

Not in my dream.

In my dream, I would give the last kitten away, and the mother would automatically produce another eight-week-old kitten! I don’t know how.  It was a dream folks!  In my dream, I gave away more than 20 kittens.  I woke up, sat up, rubbed my eyes, found a drink of water, and hoped to go back to sleep peacefully, but the dream resumed right where it left off!

Finally, in my dream, one of the family members said:  “Let’s give Sammie away”.  (Sammie, indeed was our cat’s name and indeed she was in my dream.) And there, folks, lies the lesson.  I can’t resist relating this sort of thing to a spiritual lesson to learn, can I?

So it is with a particular sin that plagues us.  We say, “I’m going to stop. . .” but before we know it, there it is—and we are doing it again.  So, we must give away the source.  Let’s say, potato chips are a weakness and you are trying to lose weight.  Don’t buy potato chips!

Back to the cat and the dream.  So, when another person comes to my door asking about free kittens, I tell them that I don’t have any more to give away but I have a loving mother cat, would they want her?  And as dreams go, of course, someone took the mother cat as she was also a good mouser.  Dream done.

Why did I dream about the reoccurring kittens?  I have no idea whatsoever.  Why did I write about the reoccurring kittens?  I thought it was too amusing not to share and in the course of things, perhaps it will be an illustration for someone teaching a lesson or preaching a sermon.

Glad to help!  You are welcome.  😊

 

 

Write It When I’m Gone (book review)

Write It When I’m Gone:  Remarkable Off-the-record Conversations with Gerald R. Ford by Thomas M. DeFrank.  The edition I listened to was read by Scott Brick, a very good reader.  The book was unabridged and produced by Books On Tape on seven discs. I borrowed it from my local public library. The copyright year is 2007, one year after Ford’s death. DeFrank kept his promise.

My natural curiosity was sparked by the recent commissioning of the U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford, the newest carrier in America’s fleet.  Ford died in 2006, however, he knew about the decision to name the carrier after him just shortly before his death.  The construction of the carrier has a story all its own.  Here is a link about the commissioning: http://www.ussgeraldrfordcommissioning.org/

Since I lived through the Nixon Watergate happenings, I do remember the pain and disarray of our nation during that time of upheaval.  Once Ford was elevated to the office of President, things began to calm although his pardon of Nixon before there was even any further investigation has raised a firestorm in many a political conversation.

DeFrank began his relationship with Ford in 1974 when Newsweek assigned him to follow then Vice President Ford, until 1991 long after Ford’s Presidency, to write about Ford’s activity in the political world after having left political office after he lost his bid for elected office as President to Carter.  Ford, initially, said something off-the-record and told DeFrank that he was never to say a word of the conversation until after he was gone, meaning Ford’s death.  After 1991 DeFrank continued his relationship with Ford in casual conversations and after 2006 finally “wrote it down” for readers like me to learn about the true character of Ford.  In the book, DeFrank paints Ford much the way that Ford often signed autographs, “Ford, not a Lincoln.”  Ford saw himself always as just a common man.

Included in the book are also stories about Betty Ford and her struggles and how Ford helped her through the additions she faced and helped her fund and build the Betty Ford Center that still helps people past their addictions. Once Mrs. Ford was dried out, President Ford also gave up all alcoholic beverages in order to support her.

The account becomes so personal in this book, that upon Ford’s death near the end of the book, I found myself emotionally moved to tears.  My respect for the President who helped a crippled nation get back on its feet has my admiration.

Regretfully, in just ten years, the book is no longer in print, but it is available through used books, on audio, audible, and e book versions at Amazon.com.  Our nation should not forget the man who brought healing to our nation after the wounds of Watergate.  I hope you might pick up a copy at your local library, or download the book to your e reader. Our 38th President deserves much more credit than he is given in history books.

Mr. Tipster’s Long Sleep

The life of a hamster is rather short-lived.  A hamster owner should know from the very start that the relationship will be short so lavish all the love you can on your hammie while you can.

On August 8th Mr. Tipster, my third hamster, was lively, ate from my hand and we had a delightful time.  Nothing seemed any different than any other day.  When I was up in the night, however, I didn’t hear him running on his wheel.  When I checked on him he was sleeping in his usual spot.  On August 9, he was still sleeping and his food was undisturbed. He wasn’t curled up in a little ball but lying on his tummy.  His breathing was shallow.  I knew the end was near–sometime during that day I expected.  I stroked his back and he lifted his head and chortled to me then lay his head back down.

I laid him to rest yesterday in a spot close to Honey Hamster.

All three of my hamsters have had different personalities and I have learned things just simply by observing them.  Mr. Tipster lived for two years and eight months.  He was amazingly predictable.  Had he been a person, we would call him self-disciplined and steady.  If I changed the cage around, he did his best to get it back to his way.  He didn’t care for change so I accommodated him.  He was healthy and active, but didn’t get into mischief.  Hank was always getting into predicaments and loved to explore.  Honey was handsome and he seemed to know it!  He also had a finicky stomach and required a special diet.  He visited the vet’s office with me on too many occasions and finally a cancerous growth on his hind leg caused a painful death.  I gave him pain medication for three or four weeks before he could just couldn’t go any longer.  He tried though, boy he tried! Mr. Tipster, in his steady fashion, just went to sleep.

I am not in any hurry to try this again.  It becomes increasingly difficult to add to my hamster burial ground.  Maybe I’ll go back to raising African Violets.  My friend, Margaret, had so many varieties of violets that caring for my own plants again would make her seem closer and make Heaven sweeter.

Margaret reminded me often that one of the Beatitudes is “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God [in everything].”  Her love for science and God’s creation instills in me still the desire to learn from funny, furry, hamsters and gardening.  At least my friendship with Margaret can resume in Heaven someday.  My hamsters just sleep on in their quiet little burial ground undisturbed by summer heat and winter’s chill. Sleep on, little hammies, sleep on.

Because He Lives

This morning at our weekly sing time at our local senior center. we had the privilege of having a very accomplished piano player as a special treat.  She is accomplished, but plays only hymns, gospel songs, and patriotic music.  That suits me fine and I appreciate her stance on music. Marion is a solid rock Believer.

About three songs in we sang, “Something Beautiful” and the person sitting next to me mentioned that she loved the old song book hymns but she also was partial to Gaither songs.  I do too and nodded in agreement.  We sang some lively and some worshipful and some classics.  As usual, we end with the same song we sing each week.

As an after though, Marion asked us to sing one more.  My heart was already stirred by the words we had been singing, and now she added, “Because He Lives.”  The words struck my heart with a gripping sense of mixed emotions.  The verse that starts, “How sweet to hold a newborn baby. . .” grabbed at my heart like never before.  It’s been seven years since I held a newborn baby, my youngest granddaughter.  During that flashing moment of memory, tears spilled down my cheeks unbidden.  I couldn’t stop them.  Jesus has been my only hope for many years and I truly hope I have passed that hope on to my children and now my grandchildren.  Without the living Christ who conquered death and in the words of the song, “. . .as death gives way to victory, I’ll see the gates of Glory . . .”

Gloria Gaither did a wonderful thing when she penned those words.
Take a moment to listen to them, and silence all the motion around you letting the truth of them sink in. Because Jesus lives, I can face the uncertain future.  Take courage, my friend.

Here is the story of the song in Gloria Gaither’s own words.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJgzd__SSBY

A Woman of Courage (Book Review)

This 322-page book is written by one of my favorite authors, Wanda Brunstetter.  It is a 2014 copyright by Shiloh Run Press, an imprint of Barbour Books, Uhrichvbille, OH.

Brunstetter is, in my opinion, the original Amish fiction writers.  She wrote Amish fiction before it was trendy.  Like her counterpart, Beverly Lewis, she writes with depth I find lacking in so much of the Amish fiction today.  This is a stand-alone book and fortunately for me, I captured the book for my e reader when it as a mere 99 cents.  It is now about ten times that much on Amazon as of today.

A Woman of Courage does not feature an Amish person as the protagonist.  Instead, the protagonist is a young woman of Quaker faith.  The opening two chapters lead the reader to think this book features a predictable plot and I almost set it aside.  Each chapter after that introduces a new and interesting character right up until almost the end of the book.  The characters are well developed and complex in nature.  The plot takes on a life of its own as well.  Just when the reader things nothing else difficult can possibly happen, well, think again!  If I were to tell you that at the end it is all packaged up into a neat little package, I might be misleading you!

If you choose only one Brunstetter book to read, choose this one.  It is delightful and tantalizing and spell binding  all at the same time. It is the sort of book that I keep to read again sometime if I am laid up with a broken bone.  There is no way I’ll remember exactly how the plot moved along.  I call it a “keeper.”

 

America is too Young to Die

Here’s an excerpt from the “End of the Day” report that Gary L. Bauer e mails Monday through Fridays to my in box.  It is something to consider whether you are of either political persuasion.  Ask yourself, “Why?”  I have more to say at the end of the article.

A Real Scandal

Secretary of Defense James Mattis responded to North Korea’s latest ICBM test by saying, “The military remains ready . . . to provide options if they are necessary.” One of those options may include bolstering the THAAD missile defense system President Trump recently dispatched to South Korea.

While we are talking a good game, and there have been a couple of successful missile defense tests, the truth is that our ability to reliably stop a nuclear attack is stillvery uncertain, especially if there were multiple launches.

There are two reason why this is true. The most obvious reason is that it is not easy to hit a bullet with another bullet. But the more relevant reason is political.

When Ronald Reagan announced his idea for a space-based defense system to end the mad doctrine of “Mutually Assured Destruction,” the left and its media allies denounced and mocked it as “Star Wars.” Every year since, the left has done everything possible to delay or kill the program.

The left has opposed even the limited systems we currently have. For example, Obama demonstrated his promised “flexibility” to Vladimir Putin by canceling the deployment of a missile defense system to Eastern Europe in an effort to appease the Russians. (Yet the left accuses Trump of being “Putin’s puppet.”)

Here we are decades after Reagan left office — with Iran and North Korea making major technological advances — and we still don’t have a reliable missile defense because of the left’s resistance. It is no accident that the media never provides the American people with the truth — that conservatives have pushed for a robust missile defense while Democrats have left us defenseless.

I think it is scandalous that one political party has stood in the way of a truly effective missile shield. I think that is a much bigger scandal than whether someone in Russia hacked John Podesta’s emails or whether Donald Trump posted a funny video of himself wrestling “CNN” to the ground.

If the media were doing their job, the American people would know why we are in this fix, and that would be very bad for the left.

*** My take on this:

This is what happens to a people who are more interested in the material needs for a population than they are the spiritual needs. The “left” is always crying out for tax dollars to go to social programs rather than defense.

There must be a balance and Jesus showed that balance perfectly in His life of service here on earth.  He fed the multitudes, healed the sick, raised the dead, comforted his disciples along with multitudes of other people, and at the same time, fed them spiritually.  In the end, Jesus went to the cross to pay the penalty for sin.  There is no greater gift than to give one’s own life for someone else.

Just recently President Trump made an amazing statement when he said, “. . .in America we do not worship government; we worship God.”  O if that were only true.  A much too large faction of our current population worship idols of self, music, movies, money, and on and on the list goes.
So, is there a solution?  Yes!  It is one word:  repentance.  The answer is found in the oft quoted II Chronicles 7:14 “If my people which are called my name [believing Christians] shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

While rioting in the streets gets more and more wretched, it is up to the people who are called by God’s name, to not strike out in the streets in like manner, but to seek the face of God and call down God’s mercy and grace on our land.  Remember Elijah?

It is only by the hand of God that the “left” will turn to the “right-eous.”

Please.  Put down the electronics, turn off the television, and fall on your faces for such a harvest of repentance.  Our attitude needs to be for the spiritual needs of a lost people though, not just so we can have things better.  We must spend time in the Shepherd’s Presence. America is too young to die.

 

To receive the “End of the Day” report, contact garybauer@cwfpac.com

 

 

An Ax to Grind

Why, I ask, after listening to the press briefing with Sean Spicer today, why does the press act as if Otto Warmbier has been treated as if murdered?  No one, but several reporters, tried to get Spicer to say something that he was not about to say.

So, I’ll say my opinion.  I did some research.  Otto Warmbier was no dummy.  He graduated second highest in his high school class.  He was a junior at the University of Virginia.  But, alas, book learning and common sense do not walk hand in hand.  Where he received his money for foreign travels is unknown to me, but I presuppose that he may have been using college money for adventure.

He fell for an advertisement in China for ten-day trips to North Korea.  The line in the brochure said, “Take the trip your parents don’t want you to take.”  So, he took the ten-day trip to the forbidden land of North Korea anyhow.  He launched the trip from China.

Whether he took the poster he was accused of taking and then misusing it is not certain.  Do Communist countries tell the truth?  They have no conscience that is guided by any moral principles.  The country has a reputation for disregarding human rights.  Warmbier put himself in danger.  He suffered the consequences.

In America, he would have been deported with a slap on the wrist.  Maybe.  He would not have been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.  That is one thing I know for sure.  Americans burn our flag and get away with it, after all.  We hold dear freedom of speech.  Communists do not care about such things. Surly Warmbier knew he was taking a serious risk to even visit North Korea. He was not only American, he was a Jewish American.  Communists hate both.

As we sow, we shall reap.  The Bible teachers that principle.  Even if it were not in the Bible, where I plant sunflower seeds, I do expect sunflowers to grow.  It is common sense. I do not expect orchids.  The fact that the Apostle Paul taught about sowing and reaping makes it even more powerful.  Taken in context with verse7 (Galatians 6) it teaches us that God is not mocked.  Verse 8 drives the truth home: “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

While I do not intend to speak evil of the dead, I must say, I think some sowing and reaping has taken place.  Let’s all learn from it.

Further, let’s be careful to teach our children and grandchildren to use common sense.  Not in the Bible, but there is the adage, “Some men go where angels fear to tread.”  Not me.  My daddy has been in Heaven since 1987 but so often I hear his words of admonition and if Daddy said, “Don’t go there. . .” I’d still obey!  Daddy didn’t rear a fool.