Once upon a time

I received the following email from a friend. I don’t know if it was really written by “a pastor’s wife” or not. Whoever it was, about the only thing they missed was how we’ll rent out clothes, put on sack-cloth and put ashes on our heads in the end!

How’s this for apocalyptic literature. This was written by a pastor’s wife in biblical prose as a commentary of current events. It is brilliant.

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And it came to pass in the Age of Insanity that the people of the land

called America , having lost their morals, their initiative, and their

will to defend their liberties, chose as their Supreme Leader that

person known as “The One.”

He emerged from the vapors with a message that had no meaning; but He

hypnotized the people telling them, “I am sent to save you.” My lack

of experience, my questionable ethics, my monstrous ego, and my

association with evil doers are of no consequence. I shall save you

with hope and Change. Go, therefore, and proclaim throughout the

land that he who proceeded me is evil, that he has defiled the nation,

and that all he has built must be destroyed. And the people rejoiced,

for even though they knew not what “The One” would do, he had promised

that it was good; and they believed and “The One” said ” We live in

the greatest country in the world. Help me change everything about it!”

And the people said, “Hallelujah! Change is good!”

Then He said, “We are going to tax the rich fat-cats.” And the

people said “Sock it to them!” “And redistribute their wealth.” And

the people said, “Show us the money!” And the he said, ”

redistribution of wealth is good for everybody.”

And Joe the plumber asked, ” Are you kidding me? You’re going to

steal my money and give it to the deadbeats??” And “The One”

ridiculed and taunted him, and Joe’s personal records were hacked and publicized.

One lone reporter asked, “Isn’t that Marxist policy?” And she was

banished from the kingdom!

Then a citizen asked, “With no foreign relations experience and

having zero military experience or knowledge, how will you deal with

radical terrorists?” And “The One” said, “Simple. I shall sit with

them and talk with them and show them how nice we really are; and they

will forget that they ever wanted to kill us all!” And the people

said, “Hallelujah!! We are safe at last, and we can beat our weapons

into free cars for the people!”

Then “The One” said “I shall give 95% of you lower taxes.” And one,

lone voice said, “But 40% of us don’t pay ANY taxes.” So “The One”

said, “Then I shall give you some of the taxes the fat-cats pay!”

And the people said, “Hallelujah! Show us the money!”

Then “The One” said, “I shall tax your Capital Gains when you sell

your homes!” And the people yawned and the slumping housing market

collapsed. And He said. “I shall mandate employer-funded health care

for every worker and raise the minimum wage. And I shall give every

person unlimited healthcare and medicine and transportation to the

clinics.” And the people said, “Give me some of that!”

Then he said, “I shall penalize employers who ship jobs overseas.”

And the people said, “Where’s my rebate check?”

Then “The One” said, “I shall bankrupt the coal industry and

electricity rates will skyrocket!” And the people said, “Coal is

dirty, coal is evil, no more coal! But we don’t care for that part

about higher electric rates.” So “The One” said, Not to worry. If

your rebate isn’t enough to cover your expenses, we shall bail you out.

Just sign up with the ACORN and you troubles are over!”

Then He said, “Illegal immigrants feel scorned and slighted. Let’s

grant them amnesty, Social Security, free education, free lunches,

free medical care, bi-lingual signs and guaranteed housing…” And

the people said, “Hallelujah!” and they made him king!

And so it came to pass that employers, facing spiraling costs and

ever-higher taxes, raised their prices and laid off workers. Others

simply gave up and went out of business and the economy sank like unto

a rock dropped from a cliff.

The banking industry was destroyed. Manufacturing slowed to a

crawl. And more of the people were without a means of support.

Then “The One” said, “I am the “the One”- The Messiah – and I’m here

to save you! We shall just print more money so everyone will have

enough!” But our foreign trading partners said unto Him. “Wait a

minute. Your dollar is not worth a pile of camel dung! You will have

to pay more…” And the world said, “Wait a minute. That is

unfair!!” And the world said, “Neither are these other idiotic

programs you have embraced. Lo, you have become a Socialist state and

a second-rate power. Now you shall play by our rules!”

And the people cried out, “Alas, alas!! What have we done?” But yea

verily, it was too late. The people set upon The One and spat upon

him and stoned him, and his name was dung. And the once mighty nation

was no more; and the once proud people were without sustenance or

shelter or hope. And the Change “The One” had given them was as like

unto a poison that had destroyed then and like a whirlwind that

consumed all that they had built.

And the people beat their chests in despair and cried out in anguish,

“give us back our nation and our pride and our hope!!” But it was too

late, and their homeland was no more.

You may think this a fairy tale, but it’s not..

It’s happening RIGHT NOW

“In God We Trust”

Choice Men

Although written long ago, this could very well have been penned just today (if it were in ‘modern’ English).

Choice Men

I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. (Isaiah 48:10)

This has long been the motto fixed before our eye upon the wall of our bedroom, and in many ways it has also been written on our heart. It is no mean thing to be chosen of God. God’s choice makes chosen men choice men. Better to be the elect of God than the elect of a whole nation. So eminent is this privilege, that whatever drawback may be joined to it we very joyfully accept it, even as the Jew ate the bitter herbs for the sake of the Paschal Lamb. We choose the furnace, since God chooses us in it.

We are chosen as an afflicted people and not as a prosperous people, chosen not in the palace but in the furnace. In the furnace beauty is marred, fashion is destroyed, strength is melted, glory is consumed, and yet here eternal love reveals its secrets and declares its choice. So has it been in our case. In times of severest trial God has made to us our calling and election plain, and we have made it sure: then have we chosen the Lord to be our God, and He has shown that we are assuredly His chosen. Therefore, if today the furnace be heated seven times hotter, we will not dread it, for the glorious Son of God will walk with us amid the glowing coals.

-by C.H. Spurgeon

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Selflessness

2Co 12:14  Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.

Paul, speaking to the church at Corinth, says he is preparing to visit them a third time.  And he assures them that he will be of no burden to them on his trip, rather he comes to help not be helped.  As the planter of the Corinthian church, Paul spoke to the believers there as a father toward his children in his pledge that he was coming to assist them.

What an example Paul is in this passage, and many others, to Christians today.  In our hustle-bustle lives, too often we don’t make a sacrifice of our time or resources to assist our brothers and sisters.  There’s an old saying that one should stop and smell the roses.  Roses wilt and fade with the passage of time; so do each of us.  The next time you have the opportunity, “take the time to smell the roses” in the form of giving some needed support to a brother or sister in your life.  The ‘scent’ you’ll receive will be well worth the sacrifice.

1Co 10:24  Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

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Biker Barrette

I’ve made many hair barrettes for folks as gifts, mostly oval shaped and rather simple.  The other day, my wife’s cousin asked me if I could make her one that was for a ‘biker girl’.  I said I would and went to pondering on what I’d make her.

I decided that I wanted to go with something other than the standard oval so I cut out a bar and shield type of shape, to look a little bit Harley-ish.  Then my imagination took over the design process.  This is what I came up with:

Biker Barette

Biker Barette

This is the tooled but unfinished product.  It has two swivel knife cut and beveled borders, a third burnished border with stamping between the second and third borders.  The center has a Tandy 3D stamp with a star-rope stamp on either side.

Finished Barrette

Finished Barrette

Above is the finished product.  It is stained with aged oak Min-Wax gel stain with some neatsfoot oil mixed into it.  I the top coated it with Super Sheene.  The edges are hand burnished as is the back.  The back is also sealed with a wax-based waterproofing product, making the entire barrette waterproofed.

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Why Go to Church?

Yesterday I was asked “what are people joining your church?”  I answered the question, as a reply to the comment (here), but it has made me ponder on the bigger aspect of why go to church?  There are many reasons, including following the example of early Christians in the New Testament.  Scripture tells us not to neglect the gathering of the saints (Heb. 10:25).  As I said, I’ve been thinking on this since yesterday and today I got some ‘enlightenment’.

My pastor sent me an email that had a great analogy of why we go to church.  It was so obvious to me that God sent this to me that I had to share it.  The following is how I received it:

Why Go To Church?

A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday.
“I’ve gone for 30 years now,”  he wrote, “and in that time I have heard something
like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them.

So, I think I’m wasting my time and the preachers are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all.”   This started a real controversy in the “Letters to the Editor” column, much to the delight of the editor.

It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher: “I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this.. They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today.

Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!” When  you are DOWN to nothing… God is UP to something! Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible!  Thank God for our physical AND our spiritual nourishment!

All right, now that you’re done reading, send it on! I think everyone should read this! “When Satan is knocking at your door, simply say, “Jesus, could you get that for me?”

I don’t think I could have explained it any better.

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Who’s That?

As I was leaving the grocery store today I heard a vaguely familiar voice say, “See you later, Greg.” Though I sort of recognized the voice, I had to turn around and scan the crowd to see for certain who it was that called out to me. It was an old friend from middle school and an employee at the store that I often see there; no wonder it was kind of familiar yet not so much that I immediately knew her voice, since I don’t have real regular conversations with her.

This reminded me of something an old preacher said last week at one of the camp meetings. He said he is often asked by folks how to know for sure it’s God when they feel they are being led to do something. His answer was probably more complete than this but at least part of it was if it contradicts the Word “leave it alone; it’s not of God.”

Scripture teaches us to try the spirits. And we know that the devil is a cunning, liar who uses deception to try to lead us off course and away from God’s will. I believe if we are daily consuming the Bread, drinking in the Water of Life, through reading the Bible and conversing with God through prayer, it is much harder for the “father of lies” to distract us from our real Father.

Just as I had a harder time knowing the voice of my friend at the grocery store because we aren’t in regularly in touch, if I’m not regularly in touch with my Lord it would be harder to know His voice from that of the enemy’s.

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

Greg Wolford

©2009

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Night of Weeping; Joyous Day

For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)

A moment under our Father’s anger seems very long, and yet it is but a moment after all. If we grieve His Spirit, we cannot look for His smile; but He is a God ready to pardon, and He soon puts aside all remembrance of our faults. When we faint and are ready to die because of His frown, His favor puts new life into us.

This verse has another note of the semi-quaver kind. Our weeping night soon turns into joyous day. Brevity is the mark of mercy in the hour of the chastisement of believers. The Lord loves not to use the rod on His chosen; He gives a blow or two, and all is over; yea, and the life and the joy, which follow the anger and the weeping, more than make amends for the salutary sorrow.

Come, my heart, begin thy hallelujahs! Weep not all through the night, but wipe thine eyes in anticipation of the morning. These tears are dews which mean us as much good as the sunbeams of the morrow. Tears clear the eyes for the sight of God in His grace and make the vision of His favor more precious. A night of sorrow supplies those shades of the pictures by which the highlights are brought out with distinctness. All is well.

– C.H. Spurgeon

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New Family Members

Today was a blessed day; we added two new members to our church family. It was a bit extra special I suppose you could say because our new pastor had the privilege of “extending the right hand of fellowship” to them (that’s church-speak for ‘swearing them in’). These are the first new members in a while to add their names to the rolls. And it was a nice thing to see for our new pastor. Though new members, these folks aren’t new to Gethsemane. In fact I had wrongly just figured they were already members. I love them both and am very happy to have them as family, officially now.

Anytime a new person is added to the church it is a joyous occasion. The only more joyous one is when an unsaved person becomes a child of God. That is a much more momentous thing to any Christian to see I think.

It is my prayer that these two new family members are but the beginning of what God has in store for our little church. I pray daily that we will be the light for His kingdom that He’d have us to be. And I ask if you are taking the time to read this that you would remember our little church in your prayers, too.

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Totally Familiar

Isaiah's Lips Anointed with Fire
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One of the amazing things I can think of is how familiar Jesus is with each of us and the things we face.  Scripture teaches us He faced every kind of temptation and yet was without sin (Heb. 4:15).  It is such a comfort to know that no matter what challenges me today, tomorrow or next year, I have One that understands and empathizes with me.  Jesus Christ not only has compassion for what I face, He had such great compassion that He bore my burdens and my afflictions.  And He did the same for each and every one of us.  What a great and mighty God!

Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.

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Is It Such a Small Thing?

A watercolor painting of a camp meeting circa ...
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On Sunday I offered to drive an older fellow to the camp meeting this week if he wanted to go; he is 89 and doesn’t drive after dark anymore.  He accepted my offer and Monday evening I picked him up and took him to the meeting.  When he realized that I lived above him, so it was a little bit out of my way to pick him up, he was upset that he had run me out of the way.  It was an extensive conversation to make him realize that if I didn’t want to do this, I wouldn’t have offered to in the first place.

Tuesday he called another church member for a ride, saying, again, he didn’t want to run me out of the way.  The fellow called and told me about the conversation, knowing that I was planning on picking him up, and I said I’d still go get him.  When I showed up the old guy was a little miffed at the other fellow for calling me.  It took some time trying to explain to him that it really wasn’t out of my way to get him and that I offered, he didn’t ask.

Even after all this, he was still concerned that I was “being put out”.  Finally I told him, “You appreciate someone taking the time to bring you the meetings and back home.  I, being physically limited, am not able to do a lot for other folks.  Driving 3 miles to pick up a brother who otherwise would not be able to get to the meeting was something I could do.  And it was a pleasure for me to be able to do this service, seeing how I can’t do much else to help out most of the time.”  I believe that it dawned on him then; to me it was a service that I was glad to be able to do, not a chore.

Although it was a little thing, driving down the road a couple of miles to pick him up, it was really a very big thing for us both: He got to go to a couple of meetings that he otherwise might not have and I got to serve a brother, a rare opportunity for me, in a way that I could be useful.  And in the end we both had a tremendous time I think.  On the ride there and back we got to rehash the high points of the services from Sunday through Tuesday, as well as chat about many other things.  And after getting back to his home both evening he invited me in for a visit.  Both nights I was blessed to visit, looking through old photos and talking about the Bible and many, many other things, for several hours.  In fact, I missed the meeting tonight because I am so tired; I stayed out so late with him I got my medications out of whack and was up all night last night with those neuropathic pains, though the time I spent with him was well worth a sleepless night.  I do wish I’d have been able to make it to the meeting though.  Incidentally, I reckon he was too tired to go tonight, too, as I didn’t hear from him.  If he’d have called, tired, achy and all, I’d have made it out to get him and to the meeting.  But he didn’t.  And I truly do need the rest; I’m not used to being out until 1am, visiting with an 89-year young brother!

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