Saturday, May 31, 2014

Oops - Ran Out of Time

Sorry, hoped to share some details about the 3 1/2 days we spent in Streator today. Today got away from me. Got up today around 5:25 AM. My morning routine is to shower, shave, dress, take Fi Fi around the park and block for her morning routine, then into the office where I make coffee, feed the fish, and then have my morning devotion.

Today we had to leave for Vancouver and take care of business at the other complex Irene manages. Breakfast on the road made me think I was back on our "road trip." Coffee and a sausage biscuit, yum yum - goody!

Hard drive back to Kelso - then we drove around looking for a tree for the front flower bed in the common area of our complex. We settled on a Black Dragon. (No, you google it) We then picked up some propane for the first BBQ of the summer. We then picked up some steaks at Grocery Outlet. They are soaking up the juices right now!

We fought the construction traffic and beat feet for home. Quick lunch and discovered that A and E is having a "Longmire" marathon. Love that show. Been in the easy chair for the last 3 hours, terrible isn't it.

Details on Monday! [Lord willing! :)]

Friday, May 30, 2014

From Council Bluffs to Streator, Ilinois

What a great night's sleep! After getting the chain repaired, grapes from Wal-Mart and a simple supper, we kicked back in our room and just decompressed. It felt good not to be "moving." 

Irene and I used to drive anywhere from 12-14 hours. I once drove across the US from Jacksonville, NC to San Jose, CA in 56 hours. As time went by we began to limit ourselves to 10 hours driving and then we would pull into a motel and sleep the night away. Our last trip to California last November confirmed that 10 hours was our max. This trip has shown us that our max now is about 8 hours or 500 miles is all we want to cover in a day.

We have also discovered that Motel 6 is no longer satisfactory to us. It use to be that we would check in late, around 9-11:00 PM, grab a quick shower and hit the sack and sleep until 5 or 6:00 AM and then we would hit the road. So a bed and bathroom was about all we needed or care about.

Now we want to check in around 5-6:00 PM after covering 500 miles and we want to shower, jammy up, kick back in a nice chair and watch a little TV before we hit the hay. Now we want a refrigerator, microwave, free WiFi, TV, and coffee maker in our room. We have had to upgrade to Days Inn and the likes.

Well, back to Council Bluffs. The bed was like a soft baby's blanket. We slept soundly and  woke up around 4:00 AM. After a good hot shower and throwing our few things back in the car, we were on the road again. I turned on the Swoop light, plugged in the address for my daughter's house in Streator and followed "Kate" right back on to I-80 and as they use to say, "and away we go!"

The drive across Iowa was a bit long. It was flat and uneventful. There isn't a lot to share about the portion of the trip. We are morning people so hitting the road before 5:00 AM was great. We would drive for a couple of hours and then look for somewhere to eat breakfast. Irene was resourceful and "healthy." She brought her dried oatmeal and when I got a Sausage Biscuit she would order a cup of hot water and make her own oatmeal. What kind of vacations is that?

We finally made it to Davenport, Iowa. Davenport is on the border of Iowa and Illinois. The thing that separates the two states at that point is the famous Mississippi River. It took Irene by surprise; she wondered what the Mississippi River was doing way up there. She thought it was down around Mississippi. She wondered if I had made a wrong turn somewhere. It gave me a good chuckle.

We crossed the bridge into Moline, Illinois (Rock Island, IL) and it was just a short couple of hours to my daughter's house. Illinois is beautiful, at least along that stretch. We drove by miles and miles of cornfields, farms, and ranches. I was born and raised in Ohio. I love the mid-west. I love cattle and especially beef cattle.

When we moved to California in 1966 I thought people in California ate so strange. Being from the mid-west we ate meat three (3) times a day, this is beef and pork country. Meat and potatoes land. It was good to "be home."

We pulled into my daughter's driveway at exactly 1:00 PM Sunday afternoon (18th). We hadn't seen her, her husband, and our grandson for five (5) years. Needless to say hugs and kisses were the order of the day. I can't tell you how my heart felt having finally arrived and seeing them.

Details of the visit tomorrow!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cheyenne to Council Bluffs

I knew that I wanted a GPS for the car before our trip began. I did what I rarely do, I spent hours online researching them. I discovered that Magellan seemed to be deemed the best of the GPS systems. It happened that Magellan had just come out with an 8 inch screen. Apparently know one else had a screen that big.  I guess in the GPS world that is like having a 72 inch TV screen.

Thanks be to God, I found a place selling this wonder of wonders for a mere $119.00 with a complete packet of accessories. So I typed in all my info and credit card number and clicked on "purchase." I love it! What a neat little gadget.

I put "Kate" up on the dash, typed in the address of the first motel on the first leg and away we went. She is good. She knew the exit numbers, the side of the freeway that the exits were on and the exact route to get us where we wanted to go. However, she panics and gets a little testy when you turn off to get gas or something to eat. "Make a legal U turn!" "Turn around!" 

We typed in the Motel 6 address at Council Bluffs and pulled out of Cheyenne about 4:00 AM. Again, I really like Cheyenne - don't really know why. I like the big open sky, the flat rolling land. I have always loved the high desert. I guess I never grew out of the cowboy and Indian (oops - cowboy and native american thing) The old west still fascinates me.

Remember the broken safety chain? Well, we intended to go to a Uhaul center and have it replaced. But we got in after closing and left before opening. So we kept driving with one safety chain attached and the other wrapped around the trailer tongue.

We pulled in to Council Bluffs around 5:00 PM. We were amazed to see at the motel location, not only motels, including ours, but fast food places, shopping center, Wal-Mart and low and behold across from the motel and down a block, a UHaul center! We pulled in and they replaced the chains with brand ones.

We checked into the Motel and had a very relaxing evening. It was a very long haul across Nebraska!!!!!! It is flat and goes on forever. On I-80 there are no towns or cities. You hit Sidney some ways into the state and you better fuel and eat there because it will be a long, long, long time before anything else comes up. I thought we would never get across it and into Iowa. But thankfully we did.

I was surprised at how big Omaha (NE) was. We hadn't been in a big city since we left Portland. We navigated there massive freeway traffic at 5:00ish. We crossed the border into Iowa. Omaha and Council Bluffs (IA) are like Portland/Vancouver. Leave Vancouver, WA and pop right into Portland, OR.

We went into Wal-Mart got some fruit (grapes) and then got dinner. After a bit of conversation and mindless TV we crashed for the night and slept like babies.

God is a magnificient, wise, "talented" and creative creator. America is blessed with very beautiful landscape that is on loan from God. What variety, color, texture, and design is ours for our enjoyment and pleasure! Just be sure your windows go up often while you cross Nebraska (collective cattle can create crude concentrate.)

"The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land." (Psalm 95:5)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

From Twin Falls to Cheyenne

After a horrible night of fit-full sleeping minutes at a time on a bed that was harder than I-84, we decided around 3:00 AM to throw in the towel and hit the road. Besides, I wanted to get out of Idaho anyways. I was tense the entire time of driving through that state. 

Scott, there was nothing but furniture and knick-knacks in that trailer. However, having inspected semi-trucks for contraband and explosives when working at SIAD (Sierra Army Depot - Herlong), I know what we did to those truckers who flunked the "attitude test." We would  pull everything thing we could out of anything we could pull it and put it out on the ground. Then of course we would get a kick out of watching them put all of their worldly possessions back in the sleeper part of their cab.

Those memories invaded my mind like Putin in the Ukraine. All I could think of was seeing every item in that trailer on the side of I-84. Well, thankfully we made it through Idaho without an incident.

We dropped down into the top of Utah and drove for what seemed forever before we came to any place that resembled breakfast. Irene fell in love with Utah, especially the closer we got to the border of Utah and Wyoming. 

We drove into Evanston, Wyoming and continued to climb. I had forgotten that we would cross the continental divide and reach elevations of some 8800 feet. But my old Buick pulled those hills like a champ. Of course you had to jump out every so often and catch the needle that belonged on the gas gauge as it was sucked out of the dash board. Our mileage dropped to an all time low of 22 MPG to around 25 MPG while we climbed all the way to Laramie. 

I love Cheyenne! Would love to live there. We checked into our second Motel 6. The motel was decent. The bed was acceptable. However, it was 10 feet from the rail-road tracks. It seemed a train went by every 10 minutes. We rocked and rolled all night but we did get some rest.

The funny thing, at least to me, was I asked the desk where there was a place to eat. She said, Carl's Jr. was up the road but if we wanted Mickey D's or anything else it was a little further. Little further? We never did find anything until the next morning when we drove out of town. I settled for a fish sandwich at Carl's Jr. 

Irene and I boycott Carl's Jr. We think their commercials are too sexual in nature. But "preferences" go out the window when you have driven all day and are starving. 

"The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore."

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Kelso to Twin Falls

Irene and I left, Thursday morning, May 15th from our parking space in Kelso for Streator, Illinois. This was a 2107 mile journey!

I chose to attend the monthly pastor's breakfast that morning so we left at exactly 10:00 AM. We drove from Kelso to Twin Falls, Idaho. The drive was uneventful until we were about an hour outside of Twin Falls. I began noticing sparks flying up around the back of my car and the front of the 4 x 8 UHaul we were pulling.

That made me nervous. Oh the sparks didn't, but the attention that it might have drawn made me nervous. You see I had read where some Idaho troopers had been pulling over vehicles with Washington or Colorado plates and searching them for marijuana. (Washington and Colorado have now legalized marijuana)

We had chosen to take a completely packed UHaul filled with furniture and such to our daughter in Streator to help fill and decorate her new rental home. All I could think of was some Idaho patrolman making us empty that floor to ceiling, front to back, packed trailer on the side of the road.

One of the safety chains had broken and was bouncing on the roadway causing the sparks. I wrapped the remaining portion around the trailer tongue and we continued into Twin Falls. 

We checked into the Motel 6 in Twin Falls. I'd like to have the decision back! The room was the size of a jail cell and the bed was like the Idaho Department of Transportation had cut out a section of Interstate 84 and covered it with a sheet and a pillow. Needless to say that was one miserable night. However, they were pet friendly and Fi Fi didn't seem to mind one bit.

I like Twin Falls. It is a cute little town. We had stopped there a couple of times before. I would like to take some time one day and really investigate the surrounding area.

  "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Monday, May 26, 2014

We're Back!

I am back from a 10 day vacation to the mid-west. Irene, Fi Fi, and I drove to Streator, Illinois to visit our daughter Sharon, her husband Jasson and our grandson Diontre.

Hope to share details in future posts. However, I hope to get back to regular posting beginning tomorrow.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Life Lessons Learned from Eve

SERMON            GMT14-017

SERIES:              Topical – Special Days: Mother’s Day

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM

SUBTITLE:        Life Lessons Learned from Eve

SCRIPTURE:     Selected Scriptures

SUBJ:                  Lessons learned from the Failure of Eve

SUMMARY:       that God has a very definite lesson for every believer in the failure of Eve that God holds us accountable to learn for your good and His glory.

SCHEME:           That the members of NKBC earnestly learn from the lessons gleaned from the sin of Eve

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Influence of a Mother

To be a mother is by no means second class. Men may have the authority in the home, but the women have the influence. The mother, more than the father, is the one who molds and shapes those little lives from day one.
-John MacArthur,
Pastor, Grace Community Church
Sun Valley, CA

Friday, May 9, 2014

He Didn't Get the Ticket!

A business man was speeding along a downtown street in his shiny convertible corvette when he looked in his rear-view mirror. To his horror he saw the flashing red and blue lights of the local law enforcement division. 

He knew he couldn't afford another speeding ticket so he decided to do something he almost never did and never did well. He decided to beg.

As the officer walked up to the car, the business man began to sob and said, "Officer, I am so sorry. I know I was wrong. Please, please don't give me a ticket. My insurance will cancel me."

At first the cop didn't know what to do with this big baby in a business suit. Then he had an idea. He said to the businessman, "I will make you a deal. If you give me an excuse that first of all I have never heard before, and second, is very good, I will let you off with a warning.

The business stopped his blubbering and began to think. At first he panicked because he couldn't think of anything. "Think, think," he said to himself. Then it came to him.

He told the cop, "Last week my wife ran off with a cop and left me. When I saw your lights on, I sped up because I thought he was bringing her back."

Needless to say he did not get a ticket that day!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Spurgeon on books

"...master those books you have. Read them thoroughly. Bathe in them until they saturate you. Read and re-read them, masticate them, and digest them. Let them go into your very self. Peruse a good book several times, and make notes and analyses of it."

Lectures to My Students, Charles H. Spurgeon, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2008, p. 207

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Danger of False Teachers and Teachings

SERMON            GMT14-016

SERIES:              Topical – False Teaching

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM

SUBTITLE:        The Danger of False Teachers and Teachings

SCRIPTURE:     Selected Scriptures

SUBJ:                  Guard your spiritual freedom (Deception is calling)

SUMMARY:       False teachers are actively seeking to take you captive

SCHEME:           That the members of NKBC zealously guard their spiritual freedom against false teachers

1A     The Admonition about False Teachers

          1B     Matthew 24:23-25
          2B     1 Timothy 4:1
          3B     2 Timothy 4:2-4
          4B     1 John 4:1
          5B     2 Peter 2:1-3
          6B     Acts 20:28-31

2A     The Allurement among False Teachers

          1B     False Teachers rely on their personality
          2B     False Teachers rely on your ignorance
          3B     False Teachers rely on manipulation  

3A     The Approach advanced by False Teachers

          1B     The use of technology
          2B     The use of music
          3B     The use of mind control through peer pressure
          4B     The use of tickling the ears of listeners
          5B     The use of appealing to the flesh
          6B     The use of mixing truth with error

4A     The Armor against False Teachers

          1B     Realizing that false teachers exist
          2B     Being serious students of the word
          3B     Becoming a “fruit-inspector”

Friday, May 2, 2014

In What Source Do You Boast?

"...because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, as it is written, 'Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'" (1 Corinthians 1:29-31, ESV)

Those who are truly evangelical have no difficulty in admitting that our salvation is being in Christ. Those who have experienced salvation rest in the fact that we are in Christ Jesus.

For many however it is difficult to admit that they had nothing to do with the "getting into Christ." Sadly and unfortunately it is deeply in grained in our nature to desire to do something for salvation. 

However if you look closely at verse 29 you will see it states clearly that it is because of God we who are in Christ are in Christ.

God made us alive. God placed us into Christ. God has redeemed us, God has sanctified us, and God has imputed to us the righteousness necessary for salvation. Salvation is all of God.

This is why Paul makes it clear that if and when we choose to "boast" or brag about our redemption, we boast in God. Salvation is of God! Hallelujah! I had nothing to do with it.

Even the gift of faith was given to me by God (Ephesians 2:8-9.) God, through His Holy Spirit gave me spiritual life which in turn did two very necessary things:

  1. Rendered me willing to desire God and His salvation
  2. Enabled me to repent and exercise faith in Christ
Do not boast because you were smart enough to see the benefit of trusting Christ with your eternal soul. Do not boast because you decided to pray a prayer. Do not boast because you found your way to Christ. Nay, boast in God! God is the source of eternal life and God placed you in Christ. 

Boast in God! Let's here it! Someone boast in the Lord for righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Whose Your Mentor?

Mentors Can Help Christians Grow Spiritually

A major benefit of having one or more mentors in your life is their capacity to be honest with you and to keep you honest with yourself. A mentor or spiritual advisor is a person that helps you hold yourself accountable to God. Gospel-Driven disciples value the advice, admonition, and instruction given by godly mentors in their lives.

Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend…” An open rebuke by a mentor who is truly a friend maybe painful, but their rebuke gives you the opportunity to reflect on the path that you are walking. The painful wounding (rebuking) of a true friend and mentor are designed to cut deep to the heart of a matter, particularly a matter of sin for your good.

Psalms 141:5 says, “Let a righteous man strike me…” Why? “…it is a kindness; let him rebuke me – it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it.” Only a very foolish and proud individual refuses the rebuke of a godly friend and mentor. 

This incident has often been quoted – “when a certain person was asked why he had derailed from his Christian walk, it was noted that, “He had nobody in his life who was honest with him.” Yes a friend’s poking around in your personal lives may strike a very tender and sore spot, but the result is only beneficially good for you. 

Having stated this opinion clearly and even conclusively, let me give you seven benefits of having a spiritual mentor in your life:

1. Mentors can give biblical perspective at a crucial time in your life

2. Mentors can suggest times of rest & refreshment in order to charge spiritual batteries

3. Mentors can detect and warn you of sinful behavior or tendencies that may be developing

4. Mentors can graciously stimulate spiritual growth in particular areas of your life

5. Mentors can spot times of spiritual stagnation

6. Mentors can identify some of those blind spots that we cannot see ourselves

7. Mentors can give encouragement especially in those times when it is desperately needed