January 19, 2017

ROBOTS

robots.jpgPlease understand from the start of this writing I am NOT a ROBOT expert! In fact I know very little about the robotic world....except that it exists most everywhere today. Robots assist in housecleaning, operations; even in some car movement. Robotic actions make decisions on auto repair, building houses and guiding missiles. We are assuredly in the ROBOTIC part of earthly existence. Do you have a robot in your house or work? Probably, in some form or another. Your children and grands thrive on them.

The big target in this world of robots seems to be directed toward kids. It also involves adults, and even animals, however. Do robots invade your cell phone? Sure they do. Some will even carry on a simple conversation.

This invention by mankind is interesting but a bit scary, at least for me it is. I do not like dealing with a soul-less creature who seems smarter than I could ever be.

When your mind begins to churn and you feel uncomfortable about it all....take comfort...
none are God, or even god-like. They are purely a product of man's genius set into play by the abilities given God's creation called man!

I find comfort in His Word: " O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth. You have set your glory above the heavens, from the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise......when I consider your heavens the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place, WHAT IS MAN that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8)

Robots. step aside with your geeky ways of programmed knowledge! You are nothing more than plastic and metal before the great Creator of the universe!


January 17, 2017

HOME AGAIN!

We drove in yesterday afternoon after a four-day visit to Aggieland with dear friends, Don and Marge Williams. They have made College Station their home for many years. Don planned a surprise 80th birthday celebration for Marge. She knew of the event, but did not know who was invited! Because of that we dared not mention our purpose for going,

Before going to College Station we paid a visit to Bob and Jimmy Box in Hunble, where he is in rehab following the amputation of most of one leg. It was a good visit, for Bob was feeling and looking well considering what he has been through. There is still much to be done but Bob is equal to the challenge. We thank the Lord for his recovery to this point.

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While we waited for the Saturday festivities at a restaurant in Bryan, Texas, we paid another visit. This time we went to see a long-time friend and former secretary I worked with while on the staff in Wharton. Mary Alice Arth recently celebrated her ninetieth birthday. Her son, Ross, met us at Generations, the facility where she is living. We really enjoyed seeing Mary Alice.

While walking down the hallway for the exit Ann saw a name on a door that was familiar. The name was that of Virginia Frey, formerly of Taft! We had a great visit with Virginia. She was an encourager to me in writing poetry while we were living in Taft.

Two new friends were made in this visit. Diego Maffei and his wife were neighbors of the Williams years ago in Houston. We had heard about this couple for many years but had not really had an opportunity to visit with them.

Now I am home in time to pick up chores and duties awaiting. Texas A & M has an unbelievable campus spread for miles. The refurbished stadium has gotten attention but there is much more there, like almost 60,000 students enrolled on the main campus!

The rain hasn't come in amounts we had hoped for so I must go water our new grass in the front yard.


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Home Sweet Home

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January 13, 2017

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

suv.jpgThe Muse will be silent for a few days as Ann and I go to visit some friends in other places. First stop will be to see Bob and Jimmy Box. Bob endured an amputation of one leg above the knee several days ago. He is in rehab. We are also going to see friends in College Station. One of them, Mary Alice Arth, was long-time secretary and friend at First Baptist, Wharton. She just celebrated ninety-years!

These kind of treks get more difficult for me so breathe a prayer that I might be alert and careful. Thanks!!!

January 12, 2017

ROOTS OF A HEROIC SUVIVOR ON THE USS ARIZONA

Book_AllTheGallantMen.jpgI have just started reading a book I received at Christmas. It is titled, "All The Gallant Men" by Donald Stratton with Ken Gire. I will read it through quickly for it is a moving account of Pearl Harbor. More than that it features a man with roots deep in the soil of Nebraska, and a boy raised in the era of the great depression. He has a chapter entitled "A child of the depression". In that chapter Robert Stratton remembers: "I was born July 14, 1922 to Robert J Stratton and Jesse Ray Rutledge. We lived on a farm that wasn't ours, in a community that wasn't large enough to qualify as a town.". He recalls dirt roads and run-down houses with no electricity or running water. You can add the rest that goes with that setting.The family was forced to move to Red Cloud. It had about 1,500. What captured my attention is his recall of church. His mother was Methodist so the rest of the family went there. Here is Donald Stratton's recall as a boy at church in those depression days:

"What I recall from my place on a hard wooden pew in that little Methodist church was not so much what I heard from the pulpit as what I saw in the people. Hardscrabble farmers in their hand-sewn Sunday best with starched collars chafing their necks. Their wives sitting next to them, dressed in faded floral prints. Next to them squirmed uneven rows of free-range children trying their best to sit still and "be reverent".
"All The Gallant Men" pp 21-22

MethodistDinner-Front.jpgAlthough born ten years later, and in Oklahoma instead of Nebraska, I have similar memories. I don't recall a single sermon from those years. I do remember many of the songs and hymns. I also remember Bible verses taight in my Sunday School class by the Koeling sisters behind a curtain at the back of our one-room church. Does that kind of setting work? Sure it does. God has amazing ways to plant his Word in our minds and hearts. Stratton had no idea of Navy and Pearl Harbor but God was preparing this young farm boy for a time of incredible shock and horror.

Though not drawing attention to his religion Stratton does tell of carrying a small New Testament in his front pocket. He said it was a reminder of his mother's teachings when he was growing up.

Are we sometimes products of others who nurtured us in the faith? I know many miss this, yet move on and have vibrant, active lives in the Lord. Others of us need the guidance God offers through others as Timothy enjoyed: " I have been reminded of your sincere faith , which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also." (Timothy) II Timothy 1: 5-7

January 11, 2017

BRAND NAMES

pinklysol.jpgDo you shop for Brand names? Some folks do. I have that tendency in canned goods though many old brand names have disappeared. More frustrating is how brands we have known for years have several alternative products under the same name! Take something as simple as Lysol. You can purchase it in colored containers. We have one in pink! As I thought about this I decided to recall some top-of-the line brand names of days past.

For a boy most knew the knife to have was a Barlow. Most all the boys carried one to school. We played mumbley-peg when given the chance. That knife game is mentioned in "Tom Sawyer". It was mostly forbidden like "keeps". That didn't stop it from being played.
We knew the best and most expensive bike was a Schwinn. I never owned one, but wished for one. They had a horn and lights! The b.b. gun was a Daisy, of course. A Red Ryder was the name you wanted emblazened into the stock. For cars a Packard rated right up there with the Cadillac. Tablets were best when they said Big Chief and had a picture of him on the red cover. Our favorite drink for a nickel was an RC Cola. It would burn your nostril with a burp. They had really big bottles. Twelve full ounces. On and on the brand names come to mind. You may be remembering them too. Why brand names? They spoke of quality. A brand name was said to be the best. Usually it was.

Here is a brand name that has stood the test of time.The "Holy Bible". Yes, it comes in a lot of varieties today. Some of those are hurting for quality. They have wandered too far from true meanings and words. Stay with the proven names. They won't steer you wrong.

January 10, 2017

A NEW NATIONAL CHAMPION CROWNED

Ann and I watched the entire game last evening between Alabama and Clemson. It ended near midnight. I almost "lost her" a couple of times, but in the fourth quarter it began to appear either team could win. We were wanting it to be Clemson. trophy.jpgI have no ties with either school. I did have unpleasant memories of the teams I cheer for in the SEC being blown out of the stadium by a great Alabama team. Clemson was close last year, but they had what it took this year, sealing a win in the last two seconds!

There is a nature in us that is good. We do have a tendency to pull for the underdog. That same nature causes people to drop money in the Salvation Army kettles; give food and clothing to Good Will; and even open our homes to the needy at times. Our aid is not without risk.. Some will take advantage of a benevolent heart. Some are simply deadbeats and know how to live off the bounty of others without contributing anything. There are those who use wives or children in their appeals when the husband could help but does not. All of those things can cause us to become insensitive to real needs.

I have discovered over the years that some who need help the most simply do not ask for any. They are too timid or proud to do so. We sometimes have to insist they be helped.

This is a world of winners and underdogs. That is nothing new. Often it is "winner take all" but not always. One of my favorite gospel songs is "Leave It There". I used it for a solo for many years when I had voice. It tells us first and foremost to take our burdens and needs straight to the Lord. That door opens by knowing The Lord in a personal way by faith and trust in the Son, Jesus Christ.


If the world from you withhold of it's silver and its gold,
and you have to get along with meager fare.
Just remember in His Word how He feeds the little bird.
Take your burden to the Lord, and leave it there.

If your body suffers pain and your health you can't regain,
And your soul is almost sinking in despair.
Jesus knows the pain you feel. He can save and He can heal.
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there

When your youthful days are gone, and old age is stealing on,
and your body bends beneath the weight of care,
He will never leave you then. He'll go with you in the end.
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.

Charles A Tindley

January 7, 2017

LEAVE IT THERE

I know. That is also a BLOG by Charles Fake! It is a wonderful one so I am mentioning it to you this chilly Saturday morning. You simply MUST play the included recording. It did my heart much good this morning. Take your burdens to the Lord....and leave them there! Thank you, my dear friend.

January 6, 2017

BITING COLD!

As a small-town dweller, where license plates from other states almost match those from Texas, I feel a bit guilty in mentioning the weather as "biting cold". Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, and other "winter Texans" make their annual pilgrimage to Rockport to enjoy warm climate; fresh Rio Grande fruits; fishing and bird watching; and churches who welcome these "snow birds" with open arms. coldbaby.jpgWe can, however, experience the cold wind and freezing rain. I recall one of our first winters in Rockport when ice could be found on Little Bay. That was the same year when millions of fish were caught in shallow bays by the rapidly moving front and were stunned fatally.Allen Ray Moers and I went for a shallow bay boat ride when the weather warmed and saw in the clear waters so many dead fish that the bottom of the bay near Holiday Beach had a silvery glisten. Later, the warming waters brought these fish to the surface to line shores for miles with rotting fish, from minnows to trout. It was a painful sight for people but a feast for the birds and other wildlife who gorged themselves on this special mid-winter feast.

Here is the amazing part of our present event: The weather gurus, predicting twenty-nine this morning, also forcast that by Wednesday the high will be EIGHTY and the LOW SIXTY-SIX! So don't cancel your golfing tee time for next week just yet.

Folks from northern states who are here for a few weeks or months find this weather rather gentle compared with below zeros, and several feet of snowbanks, back home.

We can sum it up by saying or perhaps even singing, "This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it!" It is biting cold....so bite back!

January 2, 2017

THE LOST HISTORY OF BELLS

I have mounted in our back yard a bell once belonging to my grandfather I never met. He died one month before I was born. This bell played an important role on a farm many years ago. It was often called "the dinner bell", and that it was. The eleven children in the Hall family could hear that bell and know to walk in from the field for well water and a home-cooked meal my grandmother had prepared for them. It doesn't ring for those purposes any more, but is hung as a silent reminder of days long past.


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Bells once were vital to communities, churches, schools, and homes. The tolling of bells could speak of tragedy or a death. They could joyously sound the tones of victory and triumph. They called the people to worship. School kids were reminded to get a move on to the school house. Year by year as other forms of communication took over bells became silent. They are almost totally unheard today. Few churches, court houses, schools or homes make bells a part of their buildings.

It was not so in 1850 when Lord Alfred Tennyson penned a hymn-poem titled, " In Memoriam" (or "Ring Out, Wild Bells"). His hymn became a poem for the New Year. It is still fitting but I haven't heard it for many years. Read it and you will quickly see how words written 167 years ago are quite timely. (This poem is in the public domain)


Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light,
The year is dying in the night,
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring happy bells, across the snow;
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor;
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws,

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.


I could wish and pray those bells might ring in this new year!

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December 30, 2016

A MIGHTY SERVANT HAS FALLEN

I share with you a quote from one of about fifty books Paul Powell penned through his years of ministry. It is from his book, "Joy Comes In The Morning".

I grew up in the shadow of First Baptist Church, Port Arthur, Texas, when it was located in downtown. Church was not a part of my family's life. In fact, I was never once taken to church in my formative years - not at Christmas, not at Easter, not for a wedding, not for a funeral, not ever!

When I was fourteen, I began attending the First Baptist Church at the invitation of a friend. I soon learned the church had a softball team and a basketball team, and if you attended Sunday School three out of four Sundays a month you could play on those teams. At the age of fourteen I was not missing God from my life, but I sure knew how to play softball and basketball. Moreover, I was willing to take the religion in order to get the recreation. However, I found more than religion or recreation, I found redemption. I became a Christian.

The man who penned those words was Paul W. Powell, a giant of a man in Baptist life in Texas. Yesterday, Paul went to be with the Lord, following a stroke that he had several days ago in Tyler, his home. He was at a board meeting of Good Will. He pastored and helped grow as pastor the dynamic Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler.

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His last ministry was as Dean of Truett Seminary in Waco. He once served as President of the Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. His was an absolutely incredible ministry that began at 14 at First Baptist, Port Arthur some seventy-two years ago.

I came to know Paul when I was privileged to serve on his staff at Green Acres as an interim Youth Minister. I came from that position to First Rockport back in the eighties.
He was a great preacher and leader. The quote I shared above comes from the sermon he preached at his former pastor's service, Dr. John M Wright, several years ago. Paul knew him as "Brother John". This last quote from his book: " (Psalm 30) Out of deep gratitude David tells how God heard his prayers, saved his life and comforted his soul. Then he gives us this great promise of comfort and peace, "Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning."

It is now Morning for this great and humble servant, Paul W. Powell