Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Ten Lost Trash

Not long ago I had lunch with the man who invented Tater Tots. Actually we ate three meals together, every day. We were seated at the same table at a rest home in our wheel chairs. His name is Bob Wilson. I looked him up and his is quite a story. He is eighty nine years old. Not only did he invent Tater Tots, he named them.

He has the presence of a battleship coming into a deep water harbor. He complained about the draft of the overhead fans. A server said she would take care of it. She was too busy. Finally, he put his electric wheelchair into reverse. He rolled over to the switchbox and turned them off himself.

A tall young man walked by and they greeted one another. "He's one of the lost ten tribes," Bob told me. He was an Ethiopian with a regal bearing. Like to know his story.

But there are no lost tribes. For a very important reason. The twelve tribe Israel threatened to split up. It was similar to our war between the states. But with one important difference. The religious people came back, they did not stay split.

The ten northern tribes had decided to rebel against Judah and Benjamin. King David's descendant Rehoboam , wanted to retain his nation's unity. His troops girded for battle, 2 Chronicles eleven verse one.

Again, like our own Battle Between the States. But here is the big difference. Second Chronicles eleven verses two through four tells how God intervened. There was no war. True, ten tribes did split away. In verse thirteen we see that the priests and Levites resorted to Judah. They strengthened Judah. God was shedding idolatrous people.

Why do I care that the separation was of God? My mother in law followed someone who believed in Anglo-Israelism, that the U.S. and Britain are the so-called ten lost tribes. She separated from her church and was very bitter about it. She followed the Feasts of Israel the best she could.

Later, as she was dying, a kindly pastor explained it all to her. Her last words to us were, "I'm back in the fold, I'll see you in the rapture."

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

If Any Man

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Rev. 3:20

Seven churches are listed in the early parts of this marvelous book. After chapter three the churches are not mentioned as being on the earth. They are portrayed as being in heaven with Lord Jesus. Don't bother with trying to fit her in. From then on you are reading about the Jews and Gentiles. We are promised--wonderful promise--that we shall be saved from a terrible time that is coming. The promise is in Rev. 3:10.

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Don't hear much about this promise, but it is there. After you read the letters to the seven churches, you read this; an offer to open the door and sup with Jesus! But this offer is to any man, not to the churches. Don't want to be too tricky, but Jesus is making each person in the churches a wonderful invitation. Is your church an apostate one? Are they heading that way? Many feel they are. If you object or question, you are often not answered.

If you are ignored, or shunned, the invitation remains there. Hear Him, and open the door when he knocks.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Just One More Hug

Our class at the old folks home had concluded. I turned on my tape machine. Pomp and Circumstances began to play. I called each name so they could come forward and receive a carnation with a diploma.

"It's the first time in my life I ever received a diploma," said an older man.

I shook the hand of each man as he was handed his paper. A long, detailed, study had earned it. We had studied Daniel. Each lady got a hug. It seemed right, we had been in the study for two months and gotten to know one another.

At last a frail little lady came forward. She received her diploma and I gave her a hug. She closed her eyes. Who was she thinking of, I wondered? She stepped away. Then she came back, to hug me again. All her needs had been met at the home. But she needed another hug.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Mute Lady Sang

Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: Isaiah 35:6

I was surrounded by people waiting for their food. A woman was wheeled in, a new person. Her face was angry. She turned to look at me and gave me a hateful look.

Few people talked, even though they could. One was a refined looking lady with gray hair. She could not speak. She had been a choir director, now she was silent. Her daughter came by to coax her to eat.

The lady with the hateful look had lowered her head to her plate. She was trying to eat like a dog. A horrified doctor spoke. "What are you doing?" he called to her, "What are you DOING?"

Many of us were fortunate to be doing anything. She was trying to survive.

Our directer of entertainment spoke one night. She had her electronic keyboard out. She played both keyboard and guitar very well. "Has anyone got a favorite song?" No one spoke. We knew she was working on a song titled "I'm Going to Leave You as Soon As I Fix My Truck".

I asked for my favorite hymn, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." The lady had no music for it. She shuffled through music books. "Have you heard of Cokesbury?" she asked. I had, a long time ago. She found the song there.

She began to play the hymn. People sang along. Then the mute choir lady began to sing. Her face had changed from its vague look to an expression of concentration. Her voice was clear. She knew the words too. Something had taken place. Now she could sing.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Little Drummer Boy

He sat in front of the TV set. He was my father. Badly crippled since a child, now his mind was almost gone too. His wife had just died. he was never to know it. All he knew was she was "away". His hand waved to the audience. "I don't know if they can see us, too,", he said.

A drummer on tv was playing. His hands moved as if playing the drums. Once so strong and capable, they no longer had any work to do.

Then he was gone. Part of my job was to burn his possessions. What little was left. It was dark in the room. The January cold, like my grief, would not relent. A fire in the fire place was the only light as I burned piles of greeting cards. some from his brothers. They were dead too. Atop the burning cards I placed his old high top shoes.

I read some of his cards before I burned them. They were signed by hands that were also stilled. Dead messages to a dead man.

Nothing lasts, love itself seemed gone. I looked again at the fire. My Dad's shoes were red hot. Even the laces were glowing light. Then I thought, they were glorified. He will be some day too.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Little Boy Who Wanted to be a Teacher

My Brethren, let not many be teachers, for those who teach shall incur a stricter judgement. James 3:1

He sat in the semi-darkness of a movie theater. A very serious film was being shown. Nazis were taking over a town. People were being indoctrinated about the wonderful master race.

But the camera showed a school room, not a battlefield. A very earnest teacher was illustrating the hypocrisy of the so called Aryan leaders. Their pictures were in view.

"This so called new race is not what is represented by its leaders." He stood to one side and reached out to the pictures. He started with Hitler, "Blond hair, and moved to a dark visage, "blue eyes", pausing as each was pointed out. The students gaped.

As he spoke, two SS men entered the room and took him away. He was gone, but his message remained. At that moment a little boy thought, "That is what I want to do."

That was not to be realized for many years. But this day's message stayed in his mind. Not, how wonderful is the teacher, but what is he revealing? Can he stand back and let the truth be revealed? Can he use just a few words?

To be a teacher, not a ball player, popular at the time, or make a lot of money, which has always been a goal. Find the Truth, let people see it, that was the resolve. He did not dig the Grand Canyon, he was just a guide. How well did he do? The Great Teacher will judge that some day.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sleeping Beauty

For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes:the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. Isaiah 29:10

Israel lies asleep. All attempts to wake her have failed. Like sleeping beauty, only the kiss of the Prince will wake her. Until that day, not even the UN can wake her up.

Some say she will never awaken. Some say the church has taken her place forever. The one nation that God has chosen will not always sleep. But while she sleeps, a wonderful work is being accomplished. A church is being called out. From all kinds of people.

The first church council, in the fifteenth chapter of Acts, explains it all.

Sam Cook, the singer, sang a song, "It's Just a Matter of Time." And so it is, for you and for me. And then, the Bride will be ready.

The church does not include everyone. She is the Bride. The Son does not marry everyone. She is so special!

God has a plan for all. Right now the light is on us. Am I taking any credit for being so special? I am thanking Him for treating me so. I sure don't feel special at all. But part of the mystery of God is who He chooses. Am I greater than other men? Was Israel the greatest of nations? No, to both questions.

What can He form of clay? As the great potter, He can make what he desires. He can make me out of clay, and he can lift up Israel when it is time. And He will.

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:2

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Father, I Want a Bride

Before the world is made, I know just what I want
She must be perfect in every way, altogether lovely
She must be free from spot or wrinkle
When she falls, I will pick her up
I will create her and cherish her
I will clean her up if she gets dirty
I will do anything for her, forgive her every flaw
I will love her above all else
I will love her so much that I will suffer anything for her
I would be mocked and scourged
I will even give my life for her

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wanted, Dead or Alive!

How wonderful to be wanted, when the one who wants you is the Son of God. He is coming for his church any time now. He is the Bridegroom and we are His bride. It is marriage time we are talking about. Right now we are engaged, and that is good too.

Imagine a newspaper notice that reads: The happy couple will spend a blissful seven years in heaven, and shall return to help rule the world. That's us. A wonderful dinner has been planned. It is to be called The Marriage Supper of The Lamb.

The Groom is heir to the world.

Dead? It is not a problem. Those who sleep in Christ will be summoned and resurrected to be with their husband. Story is continued in 1st Corinthians chapter 15.

A sign has been posted in a baby nursery as a reminder. It reads:

"We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed."

Monday, October 22, 2012

I Want to Die

Sounds awful to say it, but it is not negative at all. I was charged with having “dark thoughts” by some. But they are very bright thoughts. Truth is, I want to go to heaven. I really feel I am at the end of my useful life. If I was a can of peaches you would not buy me.

Paul led the way, by saying he wanted to be with Christ.

Indulge me while I thank people who make me want to go on. Kymber started my whole blog and for quite a time entered my stories. She has ever been an inspiration to me. Jane of Virginia has given me so much encouragement. I cannot thank her enough. A man who described himself as an “old man with an old Bible” helps a lot. It is what I am, too.

I do not wish to leave my friends, whom I love so much. I do not even wish to leave my cat who cuddles up with me at night. Guess I want to be where sorrow is no more. Too much has ganged up on me. A mostly wasted life, too many graves and lives ended so soon. Jimmy, who jumped off the tar wagon with me, once jumped into a raging stream when I slipped.

He put his arm around me until I could climb out. Now he is gone. Things haunt you when you become old. A sparkling stone my wife Janie picked up in a mountain stream is still on her desk, but she is gone. My body is failing. After all, at my age, what would I expect?

Hours before she died my wife told me to go home. She knew I was very tired. She was wearing a little cap. Her tangling hair was shaved off. We had talked about how death might feel. I had come very close.

Abdominal cramps, then the lights go out. You come to, ringed with concerned nurses and doctors. They test your memory to see if any brain damage has occurred. But Janie was waiting for a voice to call to her, “Come up here." So am I. Her last words to me as she leaned on one elbow, “See you soon.”

I knew what she meant. She was dead a few hours later.

- Gerald Franz, The Last Robin

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Tar Wagon

What a nifty job, an honor, really. To fill a garden sprinkling can with molten tar and pour it out on the road to help mend it. I watched a man fill the can and pour the tar. I was a little boy and I was fascinated.

Then the wagon was retired. It had become a relic in a sand lot. But not to me and my friend Jimmy. It was an opportunity waiting for us.

Jimmy was from a different world and a different time. He could catch fish with his bare hands. He seemed to know a lot about his world, and not much about the other one. At school, he copied someones test perfectly, even the person's name. His teacher soon understood why she received two tests with the same name.

Why not climb all over the tar wagon? It was crusted with tar. It was so old it had wooden spoked wheels. We climbed the old wagon. No one cared. Then we thought, Why not jump from the top of the wagon into a big sand pile below?

I forget who jumped first. The sand was gentle and forgiving. We jumped with no fear. One challenge remained--jump backwards with your eyes shut. We did this. The big sand pile caught us. We were never hurt.

As a man, Jimmy developed lung cancer. His wife said his last wish was to be baptized. I believe pride kept him from coming to Christ sooner. I had, long ago. One morning he did not wake up. His wife found him dead, a little blood on his pillow. He sleeps in Christ.

Each of us made a bigger leap than from the tar wagon, years ago. We turned from pride, closed our eyes and jumped. Jesus caught us.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Me and My Shadow

I was walking home from a violin lesson. It was a sunny day. I moved automatically, neither happy or sad. A shadow caught my attention--my shadow. My little mind was filled with one thought. "If I cast a shadow I must be real." This was a psychotic moment. I had just discovered I was alive.

Years later at college, I attended a noon time meeting, very informal. A group had assembled to give their questions to a pastor. He was a properly quiet, sober, young man. I felt the good will in the room. People had questions and the pastor would try to answer them.

A young man volunteered. He stood out from the others in his neatness. He wore a corduroy suit. His hair was neat. What could be wrong? A sunny day, a quiet room of tinted glass, earnest people? Then his question. "I guess the big one for me is, Do we exist?"

The pastor spoke. "I believe Renee Dacarte answered that when he said, 'I think, therefore I am.'"

Should I have spoken out? I did not, though it was the only question I remember from that session. Sorry pastor. Sorry Renee. You meant well. But when a generation asks, "Do we exist?" We have deep trouble.

Please, someone, say it! We exist when we hurt, when no one cares about us. Why are we having children? So we can leave our fortunes to them when we die? I think we already have died.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

I was such a lonely kid. A skinny little guy. My parents both worked. I fixed my own breakfast and lunch, usually a can of soup. An empty house awaited me after school or in the summer. I often wet my bed. In those days I would have been termed neurotic. But my mind was turning on. Nature was so appealing as spring broke. I loved nature, but also chemistry.

Today was a blending of both. I learned that sulfur fumes were used to bleach paper and cloth and would even bleach flowers. I had cleaned out a peanut butter jar for an experiment. I wandered around a garden bed bordering a neighbor's house. We had just moved in. My jar was filled with the fumes of sulfur. I was breaking off a lilac flower as a little figure appeared.

"I hope you're not catching insects, are you? They frighten me, but they have a right to be free."

This was how I met Minerva Flavin, who was to be my friend.

We talked. I told her about my experiment of bleaching flowers. She was interested! At last someone cared.

As I told Minnie of my interest in the sulfur dioxide, she looked with fascination. I opened the jar and placed the lilac blossom inside.

We continued to talk. She treated me as adult. She was the last of her line I found later. Her parents were long dead and she had never married. When she was gone, she said her family would all be dead.

I held up the jar. The lilac had turned white. Minnie was astonished. "My, my," she exclaimed. "Let's try some other flowers."

Dandelions refused to turn white, but violets lost their color. A little moisture helped I learned.

The summer passed too fast, as it does for children. But not my friendship with Minnie. I would ring her doorbell and she would invite me up. Her furniture was covered with cloths, the shutters were closed, the house was dark. At the top of the stairs I could hear the hiss of the gas jet on her little stove. She lived upstairs. Her front room was her little kitchen, in a closet. She had no refrigerator and cooled things, like butter, with wet cloths over earthenware crocks.

She had been a seamstress and still had her long bladed shears. She and her friends used to go to the opera, she said, eyes sparkling. On a shelf were her opera glasses.

"Would you care for some coffee?" she asked. Coffee was forbidden to children in our house. "It will stunt your growth," I was told. I had some anyway. The taste was so strange to a pop drinking kid--so strong. But I liked it and never forgot my first cup.

Minnie was Irish. Many in the neighborhood were, but she really was. A staunch Catholic, she had a large picture of the Sacred Heart over the fireplace. I had gone to her house at Halloween, dressed as a cowboy. She did not answer the doorbell. I found out she believed the dead came out of their graves on this night. It was no happy time for her.

Years passed. I did not see her much. One day the mailman walked off her porch. As he passed a clump of grass, he had a frightened look. There was Minnie trying to cut the grass with her seamstress shears, her white hair blowing in the wind. Her yard had gone wild, and she fought it.

Soon her little body was carried out of her home, covered with a wine colored cloth. A hearse had backed into her drive crushing some of the high grass. Soon the grass recovered. It rose up. It was as if Minnie had never lived. But not to me.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Wounded Nurse

“I’ll put the cord on your chair,” she said.

I was in our little lunch room and was to be given the call cord while she was away, briefly. Her hair hung down as she tied the cord. She stuck her tongue out at me. She was a communicator!

She was marrying a slightly older man. He had found that two of his children were not his and was shattered. “Who else would be crazy enough to marry someone like me?”

She uttered more demeaning remarks in a light way, as if she was one big joke.

Our wheelchairs were lined up for shower time. I saw her nearby.

“Could you do something for me?” I asked. “I heard you knocking yourself several times today.”

“It’s because of my crappy childhood,” she replied.

“Please don’t knock yourself. What happened to you is not you. It was something that happened to you.”

She bent over and placed her face next to mine before she walked away.

So many hurting people! In this state, where laughter is almost compulsory, she was hurting. My problems were just to get over my stroke. I soon forgot about them. Hers will be with her until she dies.

As the twig is bent, so grows the tree. I heard an old preacher say that we never get over our childhoods. So true, I am afraid. Brave soul she was. Hard not to love her.