Monday, June 30, 2014
This week the letter for the ABC Wednesday Meme is Y. I will use the letter the way it sounds - why? As in the question, why do bad things happen to good people? More specifically, why do bad things happen to me? This post is made up of words that I wrote on September 11, 2012 that address the question of why.
Today is the 11th anniversary of 9/11. Most Americans can remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the awful news that airplanes had crashed into the World Trade Center. I was at work when Gina called me to tell me what she was seeing on TV. I turned my radio on, and listened all day as the news reports came in. I think that most people wonder why God allowed something so terrible to happen.
There are many events that have caused people to ask, "why". I don't have the answers as to why so many tragedies happen. I do know that ever since sin came into this world through Satan there have been terrible tragedies. I suppose that Adam and Eve asked "why" when Cain killed his brother Abel.
The only promise that a Christian has in this life is that there will be trouble. Our trouble free existence will be in Heaven where God will wipe away all tears.
When a tragedy happens, God says ask your questions, but don't stop there. God has given a much greater opportunity. God challenges us to turn to Him for answers. God challenges us to argue with Him. God challenges us to trust Him explicitly.
Bad things happen in this world, to good people, and to bad people, although it seems like the good people get the worst. Murphy's law seems to be all too true. Why do bad things happen to good people? More specifically, why do bad things happen to me? God rarely answers that question. He would pour out only goodness on us all the time, if He could, but because we live in a sinful world, He can't. Men have free will, and God will not override it.
Why do bad things happen to good people? Because we live in a sinful world. I know that's not the kind of answer we like, but there is no better answer available.
Once you have learned this and deepened your faith that God has everything under control, then maybe there is a better way to approach the bad things that happen. Don't ask "Why Me, Lord?" when something bad happens. Ask God how He wants you to respond, and then leave the consequences in His hands.
It is all in the response. God can always bring good out of bad, but He needs us to cooperate with Him to bring out the greatest good. This is why Paul can say "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice." Rejoice when good things happen, rejoice when bad things happen, because we can trust God to do what is for our eternal best.
The ABC Wednesday Meme is a fun way to see some great blogs.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Every day as I take my morning walk I listen to podcasts. My interests range from history to folk music, from religion to geocaching. Some of my favorite podacasts are, Stuff You Missed in History Class, A Way With Words, Voice of Prophecy, Fresh Folk, Podcacher: Geocaching Goodness, and Sawbones. The most entertaining of all of the podcasts I listen to is Sawbones.
Sawbones is Dr. Sydnee McElroy and her husband Justin. The show is, according to them, a marital tour of misguided medicine. On the show they dig through the annals of medical history to uncover odd, weird, wrong, dumb and just plain gross ways we've tried to fix people over the years.
Some of my favorite topics in the last few months have been, Warts, Tuberculosis, Pregnancy Tests, Leprosy, Royal Rife, Teething, and Headaches.
The shows are very entertaining and keep me laughing as I listen to them. I love history and Sawbones is full of history but it is presented in a way that is anything but dry and boring. Justin and Sydnee have fantastic chemistry, (you really get a sense of their relationship), and are a lot of fun to listen to. I'm not sure how they do it but they can even make Cholera and the Black Plague funny.
If you are in the medical profession or are just interested in medicine or history I highly recommend that you give Sawbones a listen. You will never view medicine quite the same way ever again.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
X is for Xenia. X is a very hard letter and I usually have to resort to a word with X in it instead of starting with X. I recently learned about a car built in 1938 called the Xenia Coupe. The car was built by Andre Dubonnet to show off his new independent suspension. He used a Hispano Suiza H6C chassis and modified it to include his enclosed coil spring suspension.
Hispano Suiza was a European manufacturer of the finest luxury cars up until 1936 when they turned from the manufacturing of cars to aviation engines. The cars that they built in the 1930's were considered some of the finest in the world at the time.
For his creation, Xenia, Andre Dubonnet used a Hispano Suiza H6C chassis and chose Jaques Saoutchik to form the one of a kind body. The result was an avante-garde interpretation of the teardrop, and was different from any other cars of it's time. The Xenia's styling was inspired in part by art deco architecture.
Jaques Saoutchik was the founder of a top-class French coachbuilding company. In the 1930s the company became famous for their high quality and often extravagant designs. Here are a few of those designs.
ABC Wednesday Meme is a fun way to see some great blogs.
Friday, June 20, 2014
Did you know that the Bible talks about a sin that God can never forgive? Throughout the centuries since the New Testament was written, millions of people have lived in fear that they may have committed it. Is it really true? Is there something that God is unable to forgive?
The Bible says in Matthew 12:31 – “the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven unto men”. So, it turns out there really is a sin that can't be forgiven, and it's blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
That raises a really important question, just what is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? In order to understand what the sin against the Holy Spirit is, it's important that we understand exactly what the role of the Holy Spirit is. In John 16:8, referring to the Holy Spirit, the Bible says, “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” The Holy Spirit works as a kind of "conscience" for the whole world.
What happens when you decide not to follow the voice of the Holy Spirit? What happens when you feel the pang of guilt and you know the right thing to do, but you deliberately choose against it? Many theologians teach that this is when people actually step into the territory of the unforgivable sin. They refer to it as grieving the Holy Spirit.
I will agree that it is a serious issue when we tune out the Holy Spirit, but is it unforgivable? I have to say NO! As a matter of fact it is not grieving the Holy Spirit; at least that is not what is being talked about in Ephesians, the only place that it is mentioned. Ephesians 4:30-32 says, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you”.
According to the Bible it is bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking and malice that grieves the Holy Spirit along with a lack of kindness and forgiveness; although I am quite sure that He is also saddened when we tune him out.
How can I be sure that grieving the Holy Spirit is not the unpardonable sin? Matthew 12:31 reads, “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men”.
This is a strange verse. There are two facts separated by a “but”. Fact number one is, “every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men”. Fact number two is, “the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men”.
Notice that EVERY SIN will be forgiven. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Now, you might have noticed that there were no exclusions in that verse. It says that if we confess our sins, Jesus will both forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and there are no "ifs", “ands”, "buts", or "maybes" attached to that promise.
Is there a sin that God cannot forgive? The answer is yes, and the sin that God can't forgive is the sin you don't repent of. If there is no sin that God won’t forgive if we confess it, then what was Jesus talking about there in Matthew 12?
We need to look at the whole chapter to see why he made such a statement. There are several incidents that happened before Jesus made the statement that blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Incident number one; the disciples pick and eat grain on the Sabbath and the Pharisees disapprove. Incident number two; Jesus heals a man on the Sabbath and the Pharisees disapprove. Incident number three; Jesus heals a blind deaf man and the Pharisees say it was through Satan’s power.
Do you see a pattern? There is a dialogue between Jesus and the Pharisees. All of these incidents bring Jesus to speak the following words to the Pharisees. “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men”. They weren't a sermon that he was giving to everyone, but they were a conversation he was having with the Pharisees.
Why was Jesus talking to the Pharisees about something that was unforgivable? Earlier we decided that there is a sin that God cannot forgive, and it is the sin you don't repent of. Why would the Pharisees not repent of a sin? They were extremely picky about keeping the law. The reason that they would not repent is because they couldn't see that they were doing anything wrong.
The unforgivable sin is the one that isn't confessed, but there are two very different reasons for not confessing. The first reason is because you have so tuned out the Holy Spirit that you can’t see sin. The second reason is because you are so sure you are doing right that you don’t see your sin.
There is no sin that you can commit that is unforgivable if you confess. Remember 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
In Revelation 3;20, 21 Jesus makes this promise. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
Jesus never stops knocking. No matter what you have done in your life, He is standing at the door and knocking. Will you open the door?
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Last Sunday I drove to Fayetteville to attend the Smokey & the Mirror Album Fundraiser Concert. Smokey & the Mirror is the new musical project of Bryan and Bernice Hembree.
I first heard Bryan and Bernice when they came with the band 3 Penny Acre to my hometown here in Mena, Arkansas and gave a concert at The Ouachita Little Theater. I went to the concert because my friend Richie Owens was opening for them and I was curious about the band because Bernice Hembree grew up here in Mena. I was blown away by how talented they were. Since then I have tried to attend as many of their concerts as I can, traveling as far as Oklahoma City and Shreveport to see them.
Smokey & the Mirror is in the studio this week working on their debut album. At Sunday night's concert they played several new songs that I hadn't heard before that are going to be on the new album. My favorite song of the evening was a new song, the first song that Bernice has ever written 100% herself. It was also the first time I have heard her play the piano. Take a minute and listen for yourself.
I had a great time at the concert and took lots of photos. Here are some of my favorites.
Keyboardist extraordinaire Daniel Walker sat in with Smokey & the Mirror. He is recording with them this week as they lay down tracks for the new album.
John Elliot opened the show. He is a very witty songwriter and and I really enjoyed his set. His music just leaves you with a smile.
John joined the band for a few numbers and the chemistry was great. It is great to be at a concert where the performers are having such a good time.
As the concert came to an end, former band-mate Bayard Blain joined Smokey & the Mirror on stage. It was good to see them perform together.
I don't know when I have enjoyed a concert more. If you every have a chance to see Smokey & the Mirror in concert I would highly recommend it.
Here is some video of the concert.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
W is for Will and Woody. Will Rogers and Woody Guthrie. The state of Oklahoma links them together. I once heard it said that Will Rogers is the most famous Oklahoman in the whole country and Woody Guthrie is the most famous Oklahoman in the whole wide world.
Woody Guthrie was born on July 14, 1912 in the town of Okemah, Oklahoma. Woody said of Okemah, "It was one of the singingest, square dancingest, drinkingest, yellingest, preachingest, walkingest, talkingest, laughingest, cryingest, shootingest, fist fightingest, bleedingest, gamblingest, gun, club and razor carryingest of our ranch towns and farm towns, because it blossomed out into one of our first Oil Boom Towns."
Okemah is a small town just off Interstate 40, about 70 miles east of Oklahoma City where I-40 splits off from Route 66. Route 66 is also known as the Will Rogers Highway.
Woody wrote a song about Will Rogers titled Will Rogers Highway. In the song Woody takes Will to task.
"My Sixty-Six highway, this Will Rogers road,
It's lined with jalopies just as far as I can see;
Can you think up a joke, Will, for all o'these folks
From New Yorker town down to Lost Angeles?
Ten thousand lost families I count every day
Caught under my bridges and under my trees;
Can you make up a joke that'll win them a job
From New Yorker town down to Lost Angeles?
I love Willy Rogers, I love your big smile,
I go to my showhouse, Will Rogers to see;
Can you grin up a tale that'll feed my folks stranded
'Twist New Yorker town and Lost Angeles"?
Will Rogers was born in Indian Territory, near present-day Oologah, Oklahoma. His parents were both of part Cherokee ancestry. His father was a leader within Cherokee society. A Cherokee judge, he was a Confederate veteran and served as a delegate to the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention.
Will made a name for himself in vaudeville, then started making movies. He became one of the best known movie stars of his time. He was not only a movie star, but also he also wrote a newspaper column and was a radio personality. At the time of his death in 1935 he was as popular as anyone on the country.
Woody on the other hand like so many other "Okies" hit the road trying to find a way to support his family. He hitchhiked, rode the rails and walked all the way to California. In exchange for bed and board, Woody painted signs and played guitar and sang in saloons along the way.
In Los Angeles Woody landed a job on radio, singing traditional songs as well as some original songs. Woody began to attract widespread public attention, particularly from the thousands of relocated Okies gathered in migrant camps. The local radio airwaves also provided Woody a forum for his controversial social commentary and criticism.
Woody strongly identified with his audience. Songs such as "I Ain't Got No Home", "Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad", "Talking Dust Bowl Blues", "Tom Joad" and "Hard Travelin'"; all reflected his desire to give voice to the migrants.
Woody died in 1967 from Huntington's Disease. His music is his legacy. Because of his politics and his anti social behavior caused by his Huntington's Disease, Woody was and still is a polarizing figure.
Songwriter Bryan Hembree wrote a song titled Will and Woody that is included on 3 Penny Acre's album, Rag and Bone. He grew up in Oklahoma and was very familiar with both of them. In talking about his song he said, "Like most young boys in Oklahoma, I couldn't figure out why all of the old folks loved Will Rogers and hated Woody Guthrie. I just didn't understand because I loved them both equally".
Bryan and his wife Bernice are currently performing as Smokey & the Mirror. Last Sunday night I attended a Smokey & the Mirror concert and one of the songs they performed was Will and Woody. You can see the performance here.
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Sunday, June 15, 2014
This year for Father's Day, my Mom told Daddy that he should get whatever he wanted for Father's Day. He just happened to find a beautifully restored 1941 Plymouth. He had driven a 1941 Plymouth when he was young. A friend told my Mom that next year she should just get him a card.
Yesterday I took photos of Daddy with his new Father's Day gift trying to recreate this old photo of him with his car. We had fun doing it.
Through the years some of the things that I have learned from my Daddy are the importance of having God in your life, and how to work. Here are some photos of Daddy working through the years.
Happy Daddy's day. Some people have fathers, but I have always had a Daddy.