Sunday, December 28, 2014

When Memories Turn To Gold

Happy New Year. It's been a good year although I must say I have lost too  many loved ones and I miss them. I know we cannot live in the past, but I enjoy looking back any chance I can as I am thankful for those memories! As Steve and Annie Chapman sing it so well, "When those memories Turn to Gold"- I feel so rich because of them. These photos may not mean much to you, but I hope it reminds you of memories you may have- and pray they will turn to Gold for you, as you recall your memories.
So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good.
Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.

Yesterday is but today's memory, and tomorrow is today's dream.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Tools For The Trade

In 2005 I made a video of our 3 children to the song of Tools for the Trade by Steve and Annie Chapman. We got to hear Steve and Annie Chapman live in a Chelan church concert a few years ago. Dawn was born in Grand Coulee, Jeremy was born in Spokane, and Darcie was born in Olympia. They are all married now- with them living in Kirkland, Michigan, and East Wenatchee. We now have Six Grandkids.....

Taken in late 80's on a trip to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


Friday, December 26, 2014

Get Back Up

Someone sent me this video of Nick Vujicic. It was called are you going to finish Strong? Sometimes we have down days, pity parties, want to give up, and make fun of others. I hate it when others are made fun of, whether kids or adults. We face obstacles every day of our lives. It's not how you start, it's how you finish. I am also encouraged by people who finish strong and can be heros for us to look up to. I guess the question is for us- will we finish Strong?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Watch, Work, and Walk......

Someone said with all the prophecies of Christ's Birth, why didn't someone make a reservation for Jesus in Bethlehem? People are no different today than back then. There are many scriptures pointing to his return, but like then, are people ready and looking? I want to post this video by Anne Graham Lotz delivered several years ago on the end times.  The scripture she refers to was written over 2,000 years ago and even this message was given several years ago, so you tell me if it is not God inspired and many of the prophecies are fulfilled already. Above is Part 1-less than 10 minutes.
I hope you will take time to listen to final part of message which is above. I truly believe Christ could come at any minute. Please, Watch, Work, and Walk With God- no one knows the moment he will return- Be Ready Today. 
“When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want? Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn't they matter most now?”
― Max Lucado
Jesus. Coming soon to a Soul near You.

God is Having a Family Reunion- Will You Be There?

Life has many choices. Eternity Two. What's yours

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

My Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve already! This has to be one of my favorite Christmas Videos-  I think we should live every day as Christmas Eve- waiting for Christ's  Arrival and looking forward to the good things in store for us. It has been a good year and Christmas will not end for me on Thursday. To you who are discouraged- don't give up- Christmas is Coming. We actually do not know what day Christ was born on.  I would like to thank the many police who will work this holiday again to keep us safe, as well as thank the people who influenced my life in growing up. As todays video states, we do not know how our lives will impact others- everything we do affects so many others. I wish to thank so many that had such a impact on my life- many have gone on- but their impact has not only affected my life, I think it has affected many other lives they never dreamed it would. I think back to neighbors, pastors, SS teachers, family. Even the ones I never met, like the ones who led my grandparents to the Lord back in North Dakota before I was born. Lets not forget the Gaither Homecoming family and many gospel singing groups who influenced my life. Thanks to the many employers who gave me a chance and believed in me. Lets not forget the co-workers I have worked with. No, I did not forget my best friend and wife of almost 41 years- Thanks Janice- I sure Love You! And Again, Thank "you", for taking time to read these blogs, it has become a hobby, and I hope has influenced your life, and will cause you to have a Merry Christmas. Oh yes, and thanks to those who gave so I could have extra presents when I was young and my parents were struggling to get ahead. We never know when our time is up down here- May those who come after us find us Faithful. Merry Christmas. 
What did Adam say on the day before Christmas? It's Christmas, Eve.

This holiday season, in lieu of gifts, I've decided to give everyone my opinion.

'A woman went into a post office to buy some stamps for her Christmas cards. What denomination do you want ? asked the lady at the counter. 'Good God!' she replied, Has it come to this? I suppose you'd better give me twenty Catholic and twenty Presbyterian.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Christmas Scale

Christmas is about the little things. I have forgotten all I learned in playing a piano, but sometimes we can learn from a simple musical scale what Christmas is all about, if we will take time to listen and pause in the right places. The greatest message the world will ever hear is contained in one simple scale, the Christmas scale.
 During our church's worship service, the pastor invites all the young children to join him near the altar for the "Children's Moments Sermon." One day, with seven small children in attendance, he spoke about the ingredients required to make up a church, using a chocolate-chip cookie as an example.
He explained to the children that, as with a cookie requiring ingredients such as sugar and eggs, the church needed ingredients to make up the congregation.
Holding a cookie aloft, he asked, "If I took the chocolate chips out of this cookie, what would I have?"
A shy six-year-old raised his hand. "Six less grams of fat," he replied.

This holiday season, in lieu of gifts, I've decided to give everyone my opinion.

It was Christmas Eve in a supermarket and a woman was anxiously picking over the last few remaining turkeys in the hope of finding a large one.
In desperation she called over a shop assistant and said "Excuse me. Do these turkeys get any bigger?"
"No" he replied, "They're all dead".

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas With a capital C

I really hope you have a Merry Christmas. As you can tell, it is not about a date- it is about my savior who came as a Baby from Heaven to live a sinless life and rise from the dead for my sins. I make no appologies nor do I force my beliefs on you. I spell Christmas with a Capital C and agree with Brad Stine in this video. I certainly do not agree with everyone on facebook, but that is your  right and you will not see me forcing you to stop or believe as I do. Thank you for respecting  my rights and freedoms.
I was telling my three boys the story of the Nativity and how the Wise Men brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the infant Jesus. Clearly giving it a lot of thought, my six-year-old observed, "Mom, a Wise Woman would have brought diapers."

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Merry Christmas Charlie Brown

Its always exciting the days before Christmas- I am trying to find a different way each day to tell the Christmas story- this one is by Charlie Brown on a 70's tv special- Sadly I read where the ACLU is complaining about this special being shown in a school  because it Quotes one bible Verse?  (that is what Christmas is all about don't you know?) We have a Christmas decoration that tells this story- the grandkids love it. I remember playing Mary and Joseph with a special 3 year old. I volunteered to hold Baby Jesus, but she said no, "you just stand here, baby Jesus is supposed to just lay there". (she believed that according to her preschool program- she was a king in that program). I hope each of you will not just let Jesus lie there as a symbol or baby, but will hold him tightly this Christmas and every day. Merry Christmas
A Charlie Brown Christmas is the first prime-time animated TV special based upon the comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz. It was produced and directed by former Warner Bros. and UPA animator Bill Melendez, who also supplied the voice for the character of Snoopy. Initially sponsored by Coca-Cola, the special debuted on CBS in 1965, and has been aired during the Christmas season every year since: on CBS through 2000, and on ABC since 2001. Long an annual telecast, the special is now shown at least twice during the weeks leading up to Christmas. The special has been honored with both an Emmy and Peabody Award. Since its original airdate, the special has become a classic to watch during the Christmas season.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Vacation (07)

I am proud of all my grandchildren/children. I actually saved this video from youtube when my daughter made/posted it back in 2007 I think.  I am looking forward to building a snowman-I found this photo of two years ago when Caitlyn and  I built two, and she named them Caitlyn and Donny! Wow, what a compliment to have a snowman named after you- that is special! I posted it below and their names in case you didn't recogize them. Christmas Vacation starts here for Eastmont Schools today when school is out- no more school till next year.
"Caitlyn"  - Caitlyn- "Donnie"

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Presidents Christmas Address

In 1981, 23  years ago,  President Ronald Reagan delivered this Christmas message. Although he has since passed on, the message lives on. When I see babies and Children, it gives me new hope for our nation. May you have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.
“On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ with prayer, feasting, and great merriment. But, most of all, we experience it in our hearts. For, more than just a day, Christmas is a state of mind. It is found throughout the year whenever faith overcomes doubt, hope conquers despair, and love triumphs over hate. It is present when men of any creed bring love and understanding to the hearts of their fellow man. The feeling is seen in the wondrous faces of children and in the hopeful eyes of the aged. It overflows the hearts of cheerful givers and the souls.”
— Ronald Reagan Christmas Message 1981

"The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn't for any religious reasons. They couldn't find three wise men and a virgin." --

"According to a new CBS poll, 33 percent of Americans say they won't have enough money to cover their holiday spending. I believe these people are called Congress."

"According to a recent poll, 22% of Americans now say, 'Happy Holidays.' The other 78% say, 'Feliz Navidad.'

"President Obama and the first lady say they will not be exchanging gifts this Christmas. Mrs. Obama says they used to, but she got tired of Barack promising big things and not delivering."

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Where's The Line to See Jesus

I love Christmas- for some Christmas begins before Thanksgiving, and for some, Christmas does not end on Dec. 25th, but lasts year around. I love this time of year, the real meaning of Christmas, and I would like to remind  you of the words of this song-Where is the Line to see Jesus" Hopefully people will see Jesus in you and me.
The "W" in Christmas
Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas. My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant." I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise. So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song. Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas," I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly taken aback by its bold title. Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads. Those in the front row- center stage - held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song. As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love." The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down - totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W". The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one's mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W". Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together. A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities. For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear: "C H R I S T W A S L O V E

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Coke Christmas Commercial 2008

In 2008, Coke came out with this commercial to the tune of I Can’t Help Falling in Love with you. I am trying to keep my video blogs upbeat as Christmas to me is a time of hope!  Yes, we live in a dark world, full of sin. Things have not really changed in the past 2,000 years.  Even before Jesus was born, babies were killed, there was homosexuality, drunks, suicide, pervision, taxes and crooked politicians- things really have not changed. God was not allowed in many places back then as well. Please Don’t focus on the darkness and evil, rather follow that star and remember to look to Jesus for the answers. Don't Give Up! Choose to get your news from the angels- who reported the news to the Sheppard's one dark night long ago as written in Luke 2; There is Hope and Joy!
Luke 2; 8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

Monday, December 15, 2014

Mary Did You Know

Jan said this was her favorite song a few years ago, she has not decided on this years favorite. I see the song is making another comeback this year. Mark Lowry wrote the words in 1984 "when his pastor asked him to write the program for the living Christmas tree choir presentation. The music was written by Buddy Greene. Michael English was the first recording artist to record and release 'Mary, Did You Know?" on his debut album titled Michael English which was released on January 1, 1992. In 2005 it was #32 on the charts of US Billboard Hot Christian Songs.  I don't think Mary knew the impact she would have on the world, but then I don't think most of us realize the impact we have on certain lives in the world today as well! People are watching you- don't let them down.
Portrait of a Son
A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection from Rembrandt's to Van Gogh's. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art. When the Vietnam War broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died while saving the life of another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.
About a month later, around Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands. He said, "Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved the lives of many men that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he was killed instantly. He often talked about you and your love for art."
The young man held out his package. "I know this isn't much, and I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would've wanted you to have this." The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son. The father was drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for it. "Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me, its a gift."

The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time a visitor came, he directed them to the painting of his son, recounting the story, before taking them to see any other works of art.

The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of all his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited to see the vast collections of Picassos and Raphaels the man had amassed and having the oppurtunity to bid on the collection. On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. "Who will start the bidding on the picture of the son? Who will bid for the son?"

There was silence. Then a voice from the back of the room said, "We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one."

But the auctioneer persisted. "Who will start the bidding, $100, $200?"

Another voice shouted angrily. "We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Rembrandts and Van Gogh's. Get on with the real bids!"

But still the auctioneer continued. "The son, the son! Who will take the son?"

Finally, a voice came from the back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man. "I'll give $10 for the picture."

Being a poor man, it was all he could afford. "We have $10, who'll give $20?"

"Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters!"

"$10 is the bid, won't someone bid $20?" The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the son They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded his gavel.

"Going once, going twice, sold for $10" A man on the front row shouted "Now lets get on with the collection"

The auctioneer laid down his gavel. "I'm sorry, the auction is over."

"What about the paintings?"

"I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the valuable paintings. The man who took the son gets everything."

God gave his Son 2,000 years ago to die on a cruel cross. Much like the auctioneer, his message is, "The Son, the Son, who'll take the Son?" because, you see, whoever takes the Son, gets everything!

Author unknown

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Amazing Grace

I love traditional Christmas lights. I enjoy traditional old church hymns.  I enjoy finding videos that tell the Christmas story- I have pasted the story of John Newton below and I think you will agree, it is what Christmas is all about. I love Christmas songs, and not sure what my favorite is actually- this one is pretty close to top. In an age where we are singing hymns to new styles of music- just maybe this is a new version- although I am not sure what version will be sung in Heaven.  I hope you have a wonderful Christmas- also realize there is nothing wrong with traditions.
Amazing Grace:
The Story of John Newton by Al Rogers (This article is reprinted from the July-August 1996 issue of “Away Here in Texas”.)

John Newton 1725-1807

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound...” So begins one of the most beloved hymns of all times, a staple in the hymnals of many denominations, New Britain or “45 on the top” in Sacred Harp. The author of the words was John Newton, the self-proclaimed wretch who once was lost but then was found, saved by amazing grace.

Newton was born in London July 24, 1725, the son of a commander of a merchant ship which sailed the Mediterranean. When John was eleven, he went to sea with his father and made six voyages with him before the elder Newton retired. In 1744 John was impressed into service on a man-of-war, the H. M. S. Harwich. Finding conditions on board intolerable, he deserted but was soon recaptured and publicly flogged and demoted from midshipman to common seaman.
Finally at his own request he was exchanged into service on a slave ship, which took him to the coast of Sierra Leone. He then became the servant of a slave trader and was brutally abused. Early in 1748 he was rescued by a sea captain who had known John's father. John Newton ultimately became captain of his own ship, one which plied the slave trade.
Although he had had some early religious instruction from his mother, who had died when he was a child, he had long since given up any religious convictions. However, on a homeward voyage, while he was attempting to steer the ship through a violent storm, he experienced what he was to refer to later as his “great deliverance.” He recorded in his journal that when all seemed lost and the ship would surely sink, he exclaimed, “Lord, have mercy upon us.” Later in his cabin he reflected on what he had said and began to believe that God had addressed him through the storm and that grace had begun to work for him.
For the rest of his life he observed the anniversary of May 10, 1748 as the day of his conversion, a day of humiliation in which he subjected his will to a higher power. “Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ’tis grace has bro’t me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.” He continued in the slave trade for a time after his conversion; however, he saw to it that the slaves under his care were treated humanely.
In 1750 he married Mary Catlett, with whom he had been in love for many years. By 1755, after a serious illness, he had given up seafaring forever. During his days as a sailor he had begun to educate himself, teaching himself Latin, among other subjects. From 1755 to 1760 Newton was surveyor of tides at Liverpool, where he came to know George Whitefield, deacon in the Church of England, evangelistic preacher, and leader of the Calvinistic Methodist Church. Newton became Whitefield’s enthusiastic disciple. During this period Newton also met and came to admire John Wesley, founder of Methodism. Newton’s self-education continued, and he learned Greek and Hebrew.
He decided to become a minister and applied to the Archbishop of York for ordination. The Archbishop refused his request, but Newton persisted in his goal, and he was subsequently ordained by the Bishop of Lincoln and accepted the curacy of Olney, Buckinghamshire. Newton’s church became so crowded during services that it had to be enlarged. He preached not only in Olney but in other parts of the country. In 1767 the poet William Cowper settled at Olney, and he and Newton became friends.
Cowper helped Newton with his religious services and on his tours to other places. They held not only a regular weekly church service but also began a series of weekly prayer meetings, for which their goal was to write a new hymn for each one. They collaborated on several editions of Olney Hymns, which achieved lasting popularity. The first edition, published in 1779, contained 68 pieces by Cowper and 280 by Newton.
Among Newton’s contributions which are still loved and sung today are “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds” and ”Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken,” as well as “Amazing Grace.” Composed probably between 1760 and 1770 in Olney, ”Amazing Grace” was possibly one of the hymns written for a weekly service. Through the years other writers have composed additional verses to the hymn which came to be known as “Amazing Grace” (it was not thus entitled in Olney Hymns), and possibly verses from other Newton hymns have been added. However, these are the six stanzas that appeared, with minor spelling variations, in both the first edition in 1779 and the 1808 edition, the one nearest the date of Newton’s death. It appeared under the heading Faith’s Review and Expectation, along with a reference to First Chronicles, chapter 17, verses 16 and 17 [see the below for this Scripture – Graham Pockett].
Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ’d!

Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promis’d good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call’d me here below,
Will be forever mine.

The origin of the melody is unknown. Most hymnals attribute it to an early American folk melody. The Bill Moyers special on “Amazing Grace” speculated that it may have originated as the tune of a song the slaves sang.

Newton was not only a prolific hymn writer but also kept extensive journals and wrote many letters. Historians accredit his journals and letters for much of what is known today about the eighteenth century slave trade. In Cardiphonia, or the Utterance of the Heart, a series of devotional letters, he aligned himself with the Evangelical revival, reflecting the sentiments of his friend John Wesley and Methodism.

In 1780 Newton left Olney to become rector of St. Mary Woolnoth, St. Mary Woolchurch, in London. There he drew large congregations and influenced many, among them William Wilberforce, who would one day become a leader in the campaign for the abolition of slavery. Newton continued to preach until the last year of life, although he was blind by that time. He died in London December 21, 1807. Infidel and libertine turned minister in the Church of England, he was secure in his faith that amazing grace would lead him home

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Bob Hope Christmas Special

Forty seven years ago this video was made-  I actually remember watching the Bob Hope Christmas specials on TV when I was young and ones to the troops were my favorite. Bob Hope has passed on but what a hero.  When I think of Christmas, I think of those who serve(d) during Christmas many times overseas and away from their loved ones.  I would like to pay tribute to our soldiers who fight for our freedoms. One thing I will always remember and be grateful to, is Bob Hope who would spend his Christmas's with the troops overseas.  May it remind you to pray for our troops and their families as well as thank those who served in the past as well, including many in this video. Merry Christmas to our Military and their families.

10 years ago we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash - Now we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

I was out in the garden all day yesterday.. I ironed the lawn... smoothed out the grass... put every blade in it's place...
and I still missed the putt anyway.
(ca. 1948)
I bought a horse with four other guys... I don't know which of it belongs to me... but I think it's the part you don't put the two dollars on.
Well, we're coming up on June, the month of weddings. You know marriage is making a big comeback. I know personally that in Hollywood people are marrying people they never married before. (5/25/1982)
"I don't know what people have against Jimmy Carter. He's done nothing." –Campaigning for Ronald Reagan against Carter
"Where else but in America could the women's liberation movement take off their bras, then go on TV to complain about their lack of support?"

Friday, December 12, 2014

Retooning The Nativity

Retooning the Nativity deals with misconceptions people have about Christmas. It's amazing how many misconceptions there are out there about Christmas- most do not really matter. Let me share a post below that was written two years ago, but is just as or more relevant this Christmas. Let your Light Shine where God has placed you.
Slaughter, the Sign of Our Captivity
By Dr. Joseph B. Fuiten
Matthew 2:7-18 - Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son." When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."

Matthew was written first to the Jews in the Hebrew language. As such, he relates Jesus to the Old Testament prophesies and helps us see how Jesus fulfilled those ancient anticipations. In a little over 300 words at the beginning of Matthew we learn that Jesus is the son of Abraham and of David and is King of the Jews. He is conceived of the Holy Spirit by the Virgin Mary. He is Jesus who will save the Jews from their sins and that he is God with us. Any person schooled in the Bible will immediately discern a pattern, something upon which Matthew counted.

The flight into Egypt had memories alerting the reader to look for something more; to be reminded of Egypt and the Exodus.

Egypt had been their place of refuge under Jacob and Joseph but it turned into their place of slavery. The most notorious distinction of their slavery was the killing of all the male children in their infancy with only Moses surviving by being hidden in the bulrushes by his mother. In their captivity in Egypt, their innocent children were destroyed. Every Jew remembered all these details every year in the Passover as they do to this day.

In Jewish history, after the Egyptian captivity, there was the Assyrian captivity followed by Judah's Babylonian captivity. These exiles or captivities formed the hub of Jewish existence.

Jewish readers could see in the behavior of Herod the behaviors of the Pharaoh or of Nebuchadnezzar. Jews would have seen the parallels of Herod with Pharaoh, Rome with Egypt, and Jesus with Moses. Israel was in captivity under the Romans as they had been previously under the Egyptians and the Babylonians. The evidence was the death of their innocent children.

To cement the parallel the prophet Jeremiah, who preached to a rebellious Judah, is quoted.

Mt 2:18 - "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." Matthew recalls Rachel, the wife of Jacob who died very near that place giving birth to a son.

Gen 35:18-20 -"As she breathed her last - for she was dying - she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin. So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel's tomb." By the way, you can still visit that site today on the road to Bethlehem.

In that very place where the children of Bethlehem were destroyed by evil, Jeremiah had stood some 600 years earlier. He saw Israel's sons being marched off into the Babylonian captivity and he thought of Rachel's tomb nearby. Rachel was not to be consoled as Benjamin's sons were now being lost.

In each of the three epic captivities, Egypt, Babylon, and Rome, the little children of Israel are slaughtered. It is virtually the defining characteristic of captivity and evil. It epitomizes loss at every level.

I thought the Governor of Connecticut had it exactly right when he said "evil came to our city today." There is a time to recognize we have been touched by evil. It is entirely inappropriate to say "God is still in control" in times of calamity such as the gay marriage vote and this slaughter of innocents in Connecticut. While it is always true that God is in control in some ultimate sense, man's evil is often the dominant headline.

It is a positive sign that people are asking what can be done about it.

Mayor McGinn thinks the answer is gun control. I suppose in Herod's day he would have favored sword control, or in Cain's day it would have been stone or club control.

It should not be lost on us as Americans that the most recent two assaults came in two of our primary institutions. In Oregon, it came at the Clackamas Town Center, maybe Oregon's best mall. It hit the heart of business at the peak of the season. I can almost guarantee there was no manger scene at the mall but Santa did dive for cover when the shooting started.

In Connecticut it was in a school, the center of education, America's great hope for the future. Within that school it hit our greatest treasure, our children. By national policy, could the Lord Jesus Christ be taught there?

We are in captivity and the suffering of the innocents tells us in no uncertain terms the nature of our losses.

Yet, we continue to want to frame the question in terms of "rights" rather than what is right! What can be done in human hearts so this never happens again? The real question should be "what can be done about evil?" That is the answer of Matthew.

In a dark world of captivity and evil, the light of Jesus Christ burst forth.

He doesn't waste much time with Herod. Rather, he is intent upon showing us Jesus because Jesus is the answer to the problem of evil. This son of Abraham, and son of David, is the King of Kings. Herod is a usurper and the rightful king has come to bring us back from captivity.

We have made moral progress if we can call evil by what it is, EVIL. Jeremiah certainly knew evil. Jeremiah 17:9 - "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?"

We have made even more progress if we can know that God is good yet just. Exodus 34:5-7 - "Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."

Sin quite naturally rears its ugly and evil head and we feel the sting of it. Every America feels sick in their heart over what has happened. It is evil that motivates the things we have seen of late.

But what the world needs is not an explanation of sin but a cure for it. That is what Christmas is about.

We have come to salvation if we can make Jesus, the baby of Christmas, the King of our life. Christmas is God's answer to the existence of great evil. It is Jesus, suffering along with his people, tested in every point like we are. He identifies with us by becoming the father to the fatherless and a protector of widows. He came to bind up the broken hearted and to set at liberty those who are bruised. These are his answers to great evil.

Light is made to shine more brightly in the darkness.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Return To The Doghouse

Good News, This is the earliest I have ever been done shopping for Christmas, I think. We don't have cable so I seldom see commercials J.C Penney put out a humorous ad a few years ago called The Doghouse- in fact I posted it on my blog last week and got a few hits & suggested gifts. They also put out one called "Return to the Dog House" that I would like to post today- for all the men who read my blog. Remember- less than 2 weeks till Christmas!

A woman takes her 16-year-old daughter to the doctor. The doctor says, "Okay, Mrs. Jones, what's the problem?"
The mother says, "It's my daughter Darla. She keeps getting these cravings, she's putting on weight and is sick most mornings."
The doctor gives Darla a good examination then turns to the mother and says, "Well, I don't know how to tell you this but your Darla is pregnant. About 4 months would be my guess."
The mother says, "Pregnant?! She can't be, she has never ...ever been left alone with a man! Have you Darla?"
Darla says, "No mother! I've never even kissed a man!"
The doctor walked over to the window and just stares out it. About five minutes pass and finally the mother says, "Is there something wrong out there doctor?"
The doctor replies, "No, not really, it's just that the last time anything like this happened, a star appeared in the east and three wise men came over the hill. I'll be damned if I'm going to miss it this time!"

Just before Christmas, there was an honest politician, a kind lawyer and Santa Claus travelling in a lift of a very posh hotel. Just before the doors opened they all noticed a note lying on the floor. Which one picked it up??
Santa of course, the other two don't exist!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Watching My Grandson Grow Old

Today is Trent's Birthday! Time goes by so fast, this is an old video of Trent, I can't keep up with him growing up so fast. I wish him life's best and pray Gods richest Blessings on his life. Happy Birthday Trent!

Trent, Cody and I just a few years ago in our Living Room

A couple years ago on his Birthday when I could still carry  him on my shoulders
Trent and I at Silverwood a few years ago
Wish we could see more of his basketball and Football games

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Digital Story of the Nativity

How many ways can one say Merry Christmas or tell the Christmas story?  How does one tell the story that Jesus is coming back again?  I am glad the way God chose to tell the first Christmas story- I can't  imagine it being played over and over on TV and sensationalizing it as now happens with news stories. I also glad one of the first words from the angels mouth was "Fear Not"- someone has said there are 365 fear nots in the Bible- one for every day of they year. Todays video is how it may have happened if it was announced by the Internet and they had internet back then?
Twas two months before Christmas
When all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying
Nor taking a stand.
Why the PC Police had taken away
The reason for Christmas - no one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing
About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.
It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say
December 25th is just a ' Holiday '.
Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!
CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-Pod
Something was changing, something quite odd!
Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.
As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.
At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears
You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.
Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-is-ty
Are words that were used to intimidate me.
Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !
At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace
The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'
Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
Choose your words carefully, choose what you say
not Happy Holiday!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Gaither Christmas Comedy

Christmas means so many different things to each of you- my heart goes out to those who lost a loved one this past year, to those who things have not gone as you planned it, and are discouraged. Do not Give UP!! Things will work out in the end, and if they have not worked out yet, then its not the end yet! Someone wrote; "Christmas means never having to be Alone"- Perhaps some will take that wrong, if they have not accepted the gift and why we celebrate Christmas. "Wise Men still seek him"...He is not in the manger and he is not in the tomb- "He Is Risen!" ........ Fear Not, I bring you tidings of great joy....Someone has said there are 365 Fear Nots in the Bible, one for every day of the year. Have A Merry Christmas.
Thanks for the electric guitar you gave me for Christmas," little Chris Cody said to his uncle the first time he saw him after the holidays. "It's the best present I ever got."  "That's great," said his uncle. "Do you know how to play it?"  "Oh, I don't play it," the little fellow said. "My mom gives me a dollar a day not to play it during the day and my dad gives me five dollars a week not to play it at night.

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Kids view of The Christmas Story

Kids always make Christmas so special. Someone sent me this video- its a well made one by Portland Christian Center that I know you will enjoy.  Sometimes kids have a better idea of Christmas than some adults do. And below I posted an explanation of God written by  an 8-year-old named Danny Dutton, who lives in Chula Vista, CA. He wrote it for his third grade homework assignment, to 'explain God.' I wonder if any of us could have done as well?


'One of God's main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn't make grownups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn't have to take up his valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.'

'God's second most important job is listening to prayers An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn't have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.'

'God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn't go wasting his time by going over your mom and dad's head asking for something they said you couldn't have.'

'Atheists are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren't any who come to our church.'

'Jesus is God's Son. He used to do all the hard work, like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn't want to learn about God. They finally got tired of him preaching to them and they crucified him. But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his father that they didn't know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.'

'His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him he didn't have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.'

'You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.'

'You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there's anybody you want to make happy, it's God!

Don't skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn't come out at the beach until noon anyway.'

'If you don't believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can't go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He's around you when you're scared, in the dark or when you can't swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.' shouldn't just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can take me back anytime he pleases.

And...that's why I believe in God.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Beware of the Doghouse

I worked for J.C. Penney in Spokane- I sold mens suits. This an old commercial about what not to get your wife for Christmas.  I am posting it for me and all my male friends as a reminder what is really important to women at Christmas. It is labeled under Christmas Commercials but also could be posted under marriage, humor.
Husband and Wife Christmas Shopping
A couple were in a busy shopping center just before Christmas. The wife suddenly noticed that her husband was missing and a...s they had a lot to do, so she called him on the mobile.
The wife said " Where are you, you know we have lots to do."
He said "You remember the jewelers we went into about 10 years ago, and you fell in love with that diamond necklace? I could not afford it at the time and I said that one day I would get it for you?"
Little tears started to flow down her cheek and she got all
choked up…
"Yes, I do remember that shop." she replied.
"Well I am in the gun shop next door to that."

1. Two times a week, we go to a nice restaurant, have a little beverage, good food and companionship. She goes on Tuesdays, I go on Fridays.

2. We also sleep in separate beds. Hers is in California and mine is in Texas.

3. I take my wife everywhere ..but she keeps finding her way back.

4. I asked my wife where she wanted to go for our anniversary. "Somewhere I haven't been in a long time!" she said. So I suggested the kitchen.

5. We always hold hands.If I let go, she shops.

6. She has an electric blender, electric toaster and electric bread maker. She said "There are too many gadgets and no place to sit down!" .. So I bought her an electric chair.

7. My wife told me the car wasn't running well because there was water in the carburetor. I asked where the car was; she told me "In the lake."

8. She got a mud pack and looked great for two days. Then the mud fell off.

9. She ran after the garbage truck, yelling "Am I too late for the garbage?" .... The driver said "No, jump in!"

10. Remember: Marriage is the number one cause of divorce.

11. I married Miss Right. I just didn't know her first name was Always.

12. I haven't spoken to my wife in 18 months. I don't like to interrupt her.

13. The last fight was my fault though. My wife asked "What's on the TV?" I said "Dust!"

There are two rules for success: 1) Don't tell all you know

If 4 out of 5 people SUFFER from diarrhea… does that mean that one enjoys it?

Secret of a happy marriage..Before he leaves to go to work, the husband tells his wife what he wants her to do and that makes him happy. She goes ahead and does whatever she wants to do and that makes her happy. They're both smiling at the end of the day.

"I've decided to sell my Hoover... well, it was just collecting dust."