No Passport Required: The Ticket To Nowhere

via Daily Prompt: Passport

Where are you going?  What is your destination?  With whom are you sharing this Friday, March 31st?  Most of us are going to work or coming home from work or are at home telecommuting or spit-polishing our Skechers hiking shoes/boots for the 60 degree w/ a side of sunshine to go Sunday hike in Delaware Water Gap (that last possibility applies specifically to me.  It’s my one-day-late bday present from my family.  If God really loved me then He would have had Saturday, my 50th bday, be sunny but NO!  I’m so mad I think I will convert to Scientology since its all mind over matter anyway right?).  Since God is in charge, I think I can flex my schedule to work around his schedule (pretty awesome of me huh?)

I remember a destination several hundred of us went to each summer from our church, Emmanuel Faith Community Church in Escondido, CA.  K47, a.k.a. Cantamar Dunes, is about 3O miles south of Tijuana along the Pacific coast of Baja.  It was a blast every year, camping out with a couple hundred crazy California high school and college people.  No drinking, drugs, or wild sexcapades amongst our group.  We were (and are) a bunch of Jesus Freaks.  We just had fun in the sun and yes, back then you didn’t need a passport to Mexico and the drug cartels were not as active/violent as they are now.  The most fun was digging the latrine and building the frame  for the “job jonny” and screwing down that toilet seat so you could do your business in relative comfort.  Ah the life.

I remember vacationing in Yosemite as a young kid with my parents, older sister Betsy, and my grandparents Bert and Laura Rogers.  Grandma Rogers always had plenty of energy and a super sharp mind.  Grandpa Rogers, well, lets just say his mind was pretty good but his energy level/body fitness was somewhat lacking.  It didn’t matter to me – he was my grandpa and I loved he and my grandmother.  We were at the campsite and all of us were outside the trailer hanging out except for – yup – Grandpa Rogers.  He was puttsing around doing whatever in the trailer.  Out of nowhere a bear comes idly ambling through camp – headed right past our trailer!  We were all pretty freaked out and then it dawned on us:  GRANDPA IS STILL IN THE TRAILER!!  We all got down on our knees, raised our hands to heaven and prayed with all the faith we could muster, “Dear God, PLEASE keep Grandpa in the trailer!”  God has a funny sense of humor at times.  Guess what his clear answer was:  “That’s a negative Rampart” [remember Squad 51? If not, your just a greenhorny whippersnapper].  God said NO!!  That begs the question:  how did we know God said NO?  Well, immediately after our prayer and fasting session pleading with God to keep Grandpa in the trailer, guess what?  OUT WALKS GRANDPA WITH THE BEAR 10 FEET AWAY FROM HIM!  I thought for sure I was going to witness that bear chew my poor, ailing, decrepit Grandpa to death before my young eyes.  I was going to need radical shock therapy for the rest of my life.  And then the strangest thing happened.  While I was upset with God for saying NO to our prayer, He got the last laugh.  Instead of answering YES to our prayer, He decided to do what He does at times and interrupt the normal course of Entropy, a.k.a. the Second Law of Thermodynamics.  Oh yeah, Grandpa was the quintessential poster child for Entropy.  As soon as he saw that bear, Grandpa, who on his best day could manage a real slow shuffle, took off running like a top-fuel dragster!  It was awe-inspiring.  The fear of God and the fear of a hungry Grizzly/black/brown (give me a break – I was only around 10 at the time for Pete’s sake) whatever kind of bear it was ready to snack on your cranium is motivation enough to help an old man put wind in his sails and sprint beyond his normal, human, 60ish my-body-has-been-breaking-down-for-years reality.  Talk about living in denial at the state of your physical fitness.  What a fun memory and yes – no passport was required.

I went on a trip to Bolivia years ago and yes – a passport WAS required.  What we (a small group from my church which I had the privilege of training) found was people desperately poor (one of the poorest nations on earth).  What we also found was people who had a hunger for the Word of God, a hunger to know Jesus and be known by Him.  The physical need, the physical hunger was gut-wrenching; the spiritual need, the spiritual hunger was soul-piercing.  I have everything I need and a lot of what I want as an American.  These dear fellow human beings – Aymaran, Quechuan, Spanish (Spain) descendants, other transplanted South Americans – most desperately poor (except for the Spanish descendants by and large) and most hungry for anything that would help them.  All they needed was people who had resources and who had answers to care enough to want to help them.  Most people in the world who can help don’t care and won’t care and will not help even if it wasn’t an inconvenience.  Those stupid coca-leaf smoking Indians from Bolivia aren’t worth spitting on, are they?

FYI – Bolivia is a dangerous place.  It is run by a pseudo-communist regime which hates America and Americans.  Don’t even get your PASSPORT and DEFINITELY do not book a flight to La Paz or Cochabamba or El Alto.  It’s much too dangerous – especially for Americans.  God is not in control in Bolivia.  It is out of his jurisdiction.  He has ceded authority to diabolos, a.k.a. the Great Deceiver, a.k.a. SATAN.

Yessir, God has deserted the poor, the widow, the orphan, the disenfranchised, the homeless, those down on their luck . . . or . . . perhaps it is YOU and I who have forgotten to love our neighbor as our selfish selves.

 

 

 

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Need, belief, Faith

True. There is a beautiful Jesus. He is frozen to his bones like a chunk of beef. How desperately he wanted to pull his arms in! How desperately I touch his vertical and horizontal axes! But I can’t. Need is not quite belief. –Anne Sexton, “With Mercy for the Greedy” The first time I read […]

via Believing Fast and Slow — By Common Consent, a Mormon Blog

Interesting.  Thought provoking.  Plenty to ponder.

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Belief is trusting in the One who is imminently believable.

Work that is truly worth doing is this:  “to believe in the One He [God] has sent.”

Salvation:  [Jesus] “There is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved.”  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except by me.”  “For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ.”  “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.  After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”

“Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders.  The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.  He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne.  And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb.  Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.  And they sang a new song, saying:

‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with           your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.  You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”  “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”  “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”

“The four living creatures said, ‘Amen,’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.”

“I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

One Indian, One White Man, and a Boy gone fishing

It was a beautiful day.  My dad, myself, and Leo Calac, a friend of ours and a full-blooded Luseino (sp?) Indian, were up behind Palomar Mt. in San Diego County, CA.  We were hiking in to Barker Valley on the back (north) side of Palomar.  It was a rugged area and the stream was fairly low.  Fishing was worthless:  not a bite and nothing to show for our struggles.  Oh well, it was fun just being with two older men I respected highly.  My dad and mom had known Leo and his wife Monte for years.  They were such great people who loved God and loved others.  Leo had two brothers, Don and DeLisle.  I didn’t know Don but I know DeLisle well.  He is a good friend and a faithful brother in Christ.  I worked for his son, David Calac, a plasterer, for a few months back in 1993 as a lather (I cut my teeth in construction as a lather with Bob Mangrum, working under such notables as Bobby Ooley, Clark Fuller, Jerry Rotta, Sam Hess, Bob Savalla, Denny Baldwin [the fastest and cleanest/best lather ever in my estimation although Bobby, Sam, and Bob Savala were right up there with him]).  The Calac families were and are top-shelf representatives of Christ.

We fished a little more, caught nothing, and then came upon a long, deep pool way down in Barker Valley.  There was a tree that had fallen into the pool at the far end.  We cast in feeling confident that if we were going to catch any fish it was here.  Who was the one to hook a fish?  Yes indeed, it was our good friend the crafty Indian Leo.  He hooked that fish and the crafty fish decided to outsmart the crafty Indian and got himself tangled in the submerged branches of the tree.  Leo, ever the jokester, didn’t skip a beat.  He turned to my dad and I and with his best native American “here is how a proud Indian carries himself” shtick said,

“A good Indian never lets his catch get away.”

I chuckled to myself at Leo’s funny ways and then proceeded to watch this 50 – 60 plus year old man start stripping down to his skivvies!  I got progressively more shocked and interested as the clothing kept coming off.  All the while Leo is not smiling.  He had his “game” face on – no talking, no comments, no jokes.  He then proceeded to wade into this cold mountain pool of water and then dove in and did the underwater breaststroke for about 10 yards, freed his crafty prey, and proved once again that a good Indian is craftier than his fish!

My dad and I laughed so hard we about wet our pants.  It was utterly hysterical!  He swam back to us with the darn fish in his hands.  It was awesome.  For a boy who loves the outdoors, loves fishing, loves sharing adventures with those he cares about, respects, and looks up to, it just couldn’t get any better.  Being with Leo and my dad was so much fun.  Seeing a 60ish Indian in his skivvies doing underwater swimming to rescue his catch was just a really cool bonus!

Leo, I know you are up in heaven with your dear wife and countless others over the centuries who have gone before me and the rest of us still 6′ above the ground.  Even though you had so much fun and loved life while you were here, we know that life in the presence of Jesus is SO MUCH BETTER!  I’m sure it was such a privilege to cast your crown at Jesus feet.  I can’t wait to cast mine at His feet as well when my ticket is punched.

Do me a favor:  if you go fishing up there, have gold skivvies on if the heavenly fish try to get crafty.  It wouldn’t do for a completed Indian to go around in heaven with impurely white undies!

Check out this verse on Bible Gateway

 And Job continued his discourse: “As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice,the Almighty, who has made my life bitter, as long as I have life within me,the breath of God in my nostrils, my lips will not say anything wicked,and my tongue will not utter lies. I will never admit you are in the right;till I die, I will not deny my integrity. I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it;my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live. “May my enemy be like the wicked,my adversary like the unjust! For what hope have the godless when they are cut off,when God takes away their life? Does God listen to their crywhen distress comes upon them? Will they find delight in the Almighty?Will they call on God at all times? “I will teach you about the power of God;the ways of the Almighty I will not conceal. You have all seen this yourselves.Why then this meaningless talk? “Here is the fate God allots to the wicked,the heritage a ruthless man receives from the Almighty: However many his children, their fate is the sword;his offspring will never have enough to eat. The plague will bury those who survive him,and their widows will not weep for them. Though he heaps up silver like dustand clothes like piles of clay, what he lays up the righteous will wear,and the innocent will divide his silver. The house he builds is like a moth’s cocoon,like a hut made by a watchman. He lies down wealthy, but will do so no more;when he opens his eyes, all is gone. Terrors overtake him like a flood;a tempest snatches him away in the night. The east wind carries him off, and he is gone;it sweeps him out of his place. It hurls itself against him without mercyas he flees headlong from its power. It claps its hands in derisionand hisses him out of his place.” – Job 27:1-23 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Job27:1-23&version=NIV

“Meaningless! Meaningless . . . . Everything is meaningless.”

via Daily Prompt: Meaningless 

So said King Solomon 3000 or so years ago in the book of Ecclesiastes.  He was the wisest man on earth.  Everyone from fellow sovereigns to commoners flocked to him to hear his wise counsel and his proverbial sayings.  He was The Alpha male of his day.  He had over 1000 babes all to himself.  He was living the life of Reilly.  He had it all going for him:  more money than Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, the Sultan of Brunei, and Richard Branson all together; more women at his disposal than Hugh Heffner; more power than President Donald Trump, President Vladimir Putin, the Premier of China, the leader of ISIS, chairman of the Federal Reserve, the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Dalai Lama have together.  King Solomon was the man . . .

. . . and the man said everything is meaningless.  Wow.  Now I’m a lunatic from California, the land of fruits and nuts and ganja smoking surfer dudes and dudettes and Hollywood wackos, et al.  Even I know that “everything” is fairly all-encompassing unless you’re into the theory of relativity, i.e. truth is relative, words can mean whatever you want them to mean, your reality is your reality and mine is totally different and that’s okay because we just all want to get along and love each other and sing sweet lulabyes to all the world because we are so nice and tolerant.  Listen you twisted dorks who believe such ridiculous stupidity:  EVERYTHING = EVERYTHING.  Case closed.  Take it to the bank.  Todo = todo;       ta panta = ta panta; alles = alles; kl shaa = kl shaa; Yiqie = Yiqie; tout = tout; sab kuchh = sab kuchh; Subete = Subete; hemu = hemu; vse = vse; Hersey = Hersey; har bir narsa = har bir narsa; Tot = Tot; kila kitu = kila kitu; moi dieu = moi dieu.

EVERYTHING = EVERYTHING.

If everything is meaningless, what is the point in living?  What is our purpose?  It doesn’t even sound like “eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow you may die” has any meaning either.  What conclusion must I come to with such a pessimistic premise?

“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:  Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NIV).

Take it and run with it

Check out this verse on Bible Gateway

 How you have helped the powerlessand delivered the arm that is weak! How you have counseled the unwiseand thoroughly explained the path to success! Who did you speak these words to?Whose breath came out of your mouth? The departed spirits tremblebeneath the waters and all that inhabit them. Sheol is naked before God,and Abaddon has no covering. He stretches the northern skies over empty space;He hangs the earth on nothing. He wraps up the waters in His clouds,yet the clouds do not burst beneath their weight. He obscures the view of His throne,spreading His cloud over it. He laid out the horizon on the surface of the watersat the boundary between light and darkness. The pillars that hold up the sky tremble,astounded at His rebuke. By His power He stirred the sea,and by His understanding He crushed Rahab. By His breath the heavens gained their beauty;His hand pierced the fleeing serpent. These are but the fringes of His ways;how faint is the word we hear of Him!Who can understand His mighty thunder? – Job 26:2-14 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Job26:2-14&version=HCSB

Minimal – drive, effort, interest

via Daily Prompt: Minimal 

I am not a minimalist.  I am a maximalist living amongst a culture of minimalists.  Most people around you and I are living for the minimum – minimal joy, minimal satisfaction, minimal care for others, minimal living.  That just plain sucks big-time.  Black lives matter; white police are brutal racists; President Trump is a mysogenistic bad boy from Manhattan; Democrats hate life and love LGBTQ issues and concerns; my bathroom is open for business for me, my wife, my girlfriend, my boyfriend, my girlfriend/boyfriend -boyfriend/girlfriend, alien from the planet Krypton, cat, dog, cat/dog – dog/cat; my Mexican friends who I grew up with in So Cal and had bible studies with (go Torres/Morales/Cerda clan – you guys rock!) are actually all rapists and drug cartel members but somehow my wife and I weren’t raped or murdered during the 20 plus years I/we were friends with them – what are the odds?; and last but not least my next door Egyptian muslim neighbors or my Pakistani neighbors three doors down who must be terrorists in a sleeper cell embedded in our neighborhood in order to blow us all up or cut our throats in our sleep.  Why have they been nothing but friendly, hospitable, and courteous these past 14 years?  Why aren’t we dead since we are next door to Muslim terrorists unless perhaps they are simply red-blooded human beings who happen to be Muslim?

What in the HELL is the matter with us?  Why is my neighbor who isn’t a WASP like me so evil?  That question begs the question:  what has pushed us to ask such a stupid question in the first place?  My neighbor, no matter what his/her skin color, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or whatever difference they have from me is . . . a human being created in the image of God.

Let’s stop being so stupid, let’s love our neighbor as ourselves, and let’s love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  If you don’t want to . . .

Put your affairs in order.  God is sick to death of the apathy of us and our morally           bankrupt way of approaching life.  He is sick of our minimalist, self-centered, lukewarm approach to living.  Get ready because we are about to be vomited out of His mouth.

By the way, this post is primarily for those of us bible-thumping Jesus Freaky kind of people who have all the answers and inside we are dead as doornails.  We hypocrites are about to be purged.  You have been fore-warned you bloody Pharisees.