Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Only For The Gods? OR Only With God!!

I am fascinated by the series, Ancient Aliens. Some commentators have an issue with the term Angel so they use Extraterrestrial. Whatever. One episode of Ancient Aliens included myths, writings, and paintings of contacts between humans and the gods. To be a god, one had to exhibit extraordinary abilities such as;
· flying
· enormous strength
· home IN the: earth, sea, sky
· control fire
· control earth, water, and wind

One commentator observed what he thought was a warning incorporated in the paintings, drawings, stories and myths of every religion. His opinion was the authors were warning that certain privileges or abilities were only for the gods.

e-Sword KJASV
  Gen 6:1-4 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all that they chose. And Jehovah said, My spirit shall not strive with man forever, for that he also is flesh: yet shall his days be a hundred and twenty years. The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them: the same were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown.

Excerpt From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nature of myths - Typical characteristics
The main characters in myths are usually gods, supernatural heroes and humans. As sacred stories, myths are often endorsed by rulers and priests and closely linked to religion or spirituality. In the society in which it is told, a myth is usually regarded as a true account of the remote past.

Greek myth:
Icarus Daedalus. He ignored instructions not to fly too close to the sun, and the melting wax caused him to fall into the sea where he drowned. Uncontrolled ambition or curiosity.

Hebrew account in KJASV Genesis:
Adam is given almost total freedom and command over all he sees. The only restriction is to not eat of the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil. Seems simple enough yet, eventually, he does eat. Disobedience.

Our judicial, academic, and religious systems are filled with ordinances, rules, and laws to govern us. Most are designed to guide, limit, protect and secure us for the common good. There are ethical, religious, judicial and moral standards for the common welfare.

Jesus said to his disciples, "With God all things are possible". For example:
· Peter walked on the sea to go to Jesus.
· The disciples could heal, cast out spirits and many other actions.
· A flight student may fly an aircraft with a senior instructor aboard.
· A child can travel almost anywhere by any means with a parent.
· People have accomplished great things that have blessed the population and our planet through prayer and obedience.

With God all things are possible to be had, used, or completed for the good. This speaks of a relationship of communication, trust, faith and love. We are designed with abilities to accomplish whatever we can imagine, even without consulting God, but with questionable results.

After the flood, Noah's family and the creatures departed the Ark.

e-Sword KJASV
  Gen 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

Some years later, the people thought they had a better idea and decided to consolidate and create their own method to Heaven.

e-Sword KJASV
  Gen 11:5-7: And Jehovah came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And Jehovah said, Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is what they begin to do: and now nothing will be withholden from them, which they purpose to do. Come, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.

According to various studies, we humans, in general, want whatever is withheld from us.
·Speed Limit is 155 mph but I want to drive 156 mph.
·My candy bar is HUGE and hers is smaller but I want hers.
·I know this, but I want to know that.
·I want a lake in place of this pond.
·We want bigger, higher, longer, wider, etc.

The desire to change or engage in actions for change is usually amoral; Painting the house, adding an addition to your home, buying a jet, or changing the course of a river. The consequences of certain activities may reveal moral issues ?

The human ignorance of Nature's design and operation is colossal yet, our attempts to correct or fix nature are infinitum.

· A decision was made to dam a Salmon run to create a beautiful lake resort. They built hatcheries and artificial runs for the Salmon which failed to produce the intended effect. The changes caused a dramatic Salmon reduction and disrupted the ecology of the river.

· We have a snake problem and an expert informed me about their animal that eats snakes. Yeah, bring 'em! Hmmm, one hunts during the day and the other at night; so neither knows the other exists and now both populations are out of control.

· We have just built this beautiful highway through the mountains but a large ledge randomly drops rocks on it. No problem, cut the ledge off. That's done but now the wind off the mountain is blowing vehicles off the highway. The ledge served as a brake to the wind shear.

Each account may be studied in detail to consider the moral influence. Cutting down entire forests, uprooting the native population, and destroying thousands of years of ecology will require accountability to our children.

Throughout my adult life, I have often heard, "We don't have to listen to that law, those people, or these rules. We can do what we want. God gave us a mind to use." I have learned that these words are prelude to minor or major disaster.

From our beginning God desired a lasting friendship with regular communication. We enjoy visits with a close friend talking about topics important to us and so does our God. Each assignment given Adam, Eve and Noah implied a need for occasional guidance, which would come from God. The need also implied frequent and open conversation.

  Gen 3:8-9 And they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Jehovah God amongst the trees of the garden. And Jehovah God called unto the man, and said unto him, Where art thou?

  Gen 18:1-5 And Jehovah appeared unto him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood over against him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the earth, and said, My lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: let now a little water be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: and I will fetch a morsel of bread, and strengthen ye your heart; after that ye shall pass on: forasmuch as ye are come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.

  Joh 1:48Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
  Joh 4:9 The Samaritan woman therefore saith unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, who am a Samaritan woman? (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)

Jehovah came to Abraham and Sarah's house, and accepted an invitation to stay and have lunch. Jesus went to the well to have a refreshing drink and converse with the Samaritan woman. I believe he is still open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner invitations. Invite him for coffee or tea with fresh glazed donuts.

Every day, all day, Jesus seeks an open door to discuss your job, car problems, and thoughts about marrying a certain person and other important topics.

We will never know or understand exactly what those people experienced or knew in the beginning of time; yet they seemed to have a universal understanding. They wrote it, sang it, painted it, drew it, and told it. Be careful for what you reach for and from whom or where you receive it. There is only one true God and he alone has all of our best interests at heart.

One person summed it up this way:

e-Sword KJASV
  Ecc 12:13 This is the end of the matter; all hath been heard: fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Funerals and Life

This week Connye received a phone call with news of a friend. Normally, these calls include catching up on past events, making arrangements to meet for dinner and other social information. This one was the Passing Away call, letting her know a close friend succumbed to illness and would we come.

The service began with a photo presentation of Fred's life displayed on screens with appropriate music accompanying. Fred lived a very full and enjoyable life with family, friends, church activities, travel, hunting and love of everyone.

The eulogy consisted of a collection of thoughts and memories from family, friends and the speaker. I began to miss a man I never knew. Fred, Marge, and Connye were long time close friends. They retired and moved away shortly after Connye and I married. Our life filled up with events and for unknown reasons we never planned the trip to visit them.

The Guest of Honor does not speak at his or her funeral, for obvious reasons. Yet, it seemed, Fred stirred my thoughts:
  • Why didn't we visit them?
  • Was the distance (260 miles and 4 hours) too far?
  • Connye and I had lunch with Fred and Marge and they were fun.
  • What will be said, sung and displayed at my funeral?
I explained my thoughts to Connye later concluding I had no answers. Fred reminded me my death will come. We make detailed before and after plans for special events such as:
  • Having guests over for dinner,
  • Weddings,
  • Graduations,
  • Sports events,
  • Winning a sport activity,
  • Block or office party.
A paradox of life is that we agree everyone dies yet, in my experience, very few anticipate the event and aftermath. The funeral is typically the simplest part of the process. Choose a service location, casket, plot and attendants. Finances, guardians for children, distribution of property, etc., should be in order as is possible. The remaining partner and or children should not have to fear their future.

Some people will not discuss the event.
  • My first wife had a terminal illness and would not accept or discuss she was dying nor would she consider preparations for her transition. Not saying farewell to each other was very hard for me.
  • My mother continued firm with instructions to cremate and distribute her remains. Her meager personal holdings were left to her offspring to decide distribution.
  • Connye's mother and I talked about her impending departure. The chats happened over several days and were spontaneous, interesting, intimate, and short. These were cherished moments with her.
How am I to be dressed? What type of songs? How do I want my service conducted?

All these are important but I think much less important compared to what is exchanged with loved ones before death. Such conferences were conducted before a wedding or a death to bestow blessings, advice and/or say goodbye.

I remember family gatherings to the home of great grandparents before their death. The GGP would call each member to their side for their last talk. These events happened at home so death seemed normal and not something to fear or fight.

I am reminded of the precious times a mother and daughter may enjoy before her wedding or the acknowledgement of manhood between father and son prior to his engagement to marriage. The passage from childhood to adulthood, girl to woman, boy to man should be attended and mentored by every mother and father and elder.

Fred, your last act of mentoring me is as real as if you were alive and I feel like your friend. Your funeral was a testament to your bountiful, loving life as expressed through those ministering and attending.  I pray you celebrate your new life and adventures with gusto.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

What Do You Mean? What Do I Mean?

As a child progressing into young adulthood, someone would occasionally tell me to grow up. At those ages, the meaning seemed simple enough, get taller and wider and as you know, we can only get so tall and so wide.

Maybe it had to do with my attire or behavior. Behavior gained significance because I was involved in an activity that I thought funny when the directive came. I eventually came to the conclusion, around 30 years of age, the phrase meant to act responsibly, consider the surroundings, consequences to the victim, or damage to my career.

After joining the Army I was stationed in Massachusetts. One day of my first Winter, I asked a local why it was not snowing. His reply was, It's too cold. I thought some information would help soooo, I said, it snows at the North Pole. Well, so much for that. Finally, the  explanation was the air was too dry to snow. Well why couldn't they have said that. In their manner of local speaking, they did.

My wife and I were spending a week with friends in Vermont during the Winter. He had asked me if our car was prepped for the Winter and I casually replied yes. Well, it wasn't and neither were we. 40 degrees below zero is serious, dangerous cold for anyone not prepared. At the end of the week, my friend had to use an outside heater to warm the engine, so it would start and move. 

Our daughter had a friend spending the weekend at our house. I was reading and the young lady shared an idea she had. I half-heartedly responded and she countered with, "Mr. Ware, you don't care what I have to say do you?" Embarrassed that what I was thinking was expressed; I quickly apologized. In a few seconds, I offended our young friend, my daughter and myself.

During my 30+ years as an instructor and trainer, I was taught I am responsible and accountable for my verbiage. As husband, father and now grandfather I feel more responsible and accountable for the influence of my words.

When a person thanks you for advice you gave them years ago, they confirm the value of every opportunity you seized for clarity. When a person wants to engage me in a conversation, I stop, think and acknowledge him/her.

You may be wondering if I still make mistakes. Yes. Ask friends, family and co-workers about my colossal blunders written in their minds and hearts. Thank God for patient and forgiving people.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Price of Admisson!

Many people have a resource they believe in and depend on for guidance. There are certain authors of books and manuals I use repeatedly: Construction methods and materials for a home, electrical codes and methods for safe wiring, safest way to drive a car, what wine or beer to drink. One of my resources that has proven superior, for me, for principles of living is the Christian Bible.

An example is given of a man asking Jesus about his eternal future. Jesus senses something superficial or naive and replies with five of the ten commandments. The man accepts Jesus' answer and seems to sense there is more to be said.
Luke 18:18  And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, even God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor thy father and mother.
And he said, All these things have I observed from my youth up. And when Jesus heard it, he said unto him, One thing thou lackest yet: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. But when he heard these things, he became exceeding sorrowful; for he was very rich.
Mark 10:17  And as he was going forth into the way, there ran one to him, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good save one, even God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor thy father and mother.
And he said unto him, Teacher, all these things have I observed from my youth.
And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. But his countenance fell at the saying, and he went away sorrowful: for he was one that had great possessions.
Allow me to insert my words: Jesus responds,
  • You want into top level management and a key to the executive wash room.
  • You want to be the best husband and father you can be to ensure a successful marriage.
  • You want to be a successful business owner with integrity.
For the top of the line, the elite, the best of the best, there is a price of admission. You must surrender:
  • An activity
  • Relationship(s)
  • Dependence on...
  • Your independence
Now back to me and my lack. For most of my adult working life, I have denied promotions, salary increases and other meaningful opportunities for myself and family because I would not give up certain fears. I did not understand my true losses until I was senior in life. What a disappointing and sad wake up.
Notice, Jesus did not tell the man he would not inherit eternal life but that changes needed to be made in this life. The man simply did not want to pay the admission costs. How many times have people's relationships suffered because one would not give up the play time they had while single and so forth.
Please observe Jesus did not tell everyone to give away their financial stock. I continually hear interviews with successful professing Christians where the reporter asks if they are going to give away their proceeds to the poor. The interviewer will quote what Jesus told the man.
Jesus was responding to one person asking him a precise question for a specific reason. He later calmed his disciples' nerves by confirming they did not have to give up their businesses and with God all things are possible. A successful and joyful Christian lifestyle can include great successes in finance, art, travel, etc. I keep telling Connye, I will remain humble in our Gulfstream 550.
At 66 years, I am prepared to pay admission. The losses of rejection are much, much greater than admission costs and the eventual rewards are beyond imagination. I have studied the lives of successful people for over forty years and noticed a common pattern.
  • The majority had to endure great difficulties or tragedies.
  • They felt compelled or driven to reach a specific goal.
  • There was a time or event of dramatic change they can not explain.
  • They went in a caterpillar, disappeared and exited a butterfly.
Society proclaims these Overnight Successes but no success of substance is overnight.
Some examples I recall are: Nelson Mandela, Assistant to Pharoah Joseph, Apostle Paul, Actor Robert Downey Jr., Business Owner Martha Stewart, and thousands of others in Science, Art, Engineering, Music, Education, ad infinitum.
What is calling or drawing you? Are you ready to move forward to your destiny? What is Your Price of Admission?

Monday, May 14, 2012

What Happens When...

The year 2000 brought a profound change in our lives. My first wife, Jane, was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer Stage 4. From that moment until her death, we lived some very dark times.

She suffered pain defined by as: 1. physical suffering or distress, as due to injury, illness, etc., 2. mental or emotional suffering or torment. I experienced despair defined by as: 1. loss of hope; hopelessness, 2. someone or something that causes hopelessness. The defined meanings do no justice expressing the actual physical and emotional experience.

As we sat alone that first night and quietly talked, Jane would ask me if she was going to die. How does one answer such a question? How does one respond to a death sentence?

Am I going to die?
Are we getting a divorce?
Will you forgive me for being unfaithful?
Is my child going to live?

A friend lost his teen age daughter to a car accident and could not speak of this for almost a year. One day he confided he did not know a person could experience so much pain and live. Sometimes our innocence and peace are RIPPED out of us. We are angry, shocked, in disbelief, disoriented, hurt and alone. Who can we talk with that will understand?

A couple considered my experience with cancer and being friends asked my advice concerning her diagnosis. I explained whatever choice they made together for her treatment this would be the greatest strain of their marriage. They were very brave and she endured as much treatment as she could while he stood by her side. They had many dark days. She finally elected to stop treatment, go back home with her husband and die with love and dignity. He eventually remarried.

Susan, my daughter, asked several times for me to journal so it could help others. After nine years, I cannot talk about details of that time.  Love is like a light in our lives providing illumination, security and hope. For myself, when this trauma came and endured, I became blinded to the light and love all around me. I felt like God left our universe.

I had dinner with a friend and gradually could see the glow of a familiar light and warmth returning. With approval from family, friends and our Pastor, we married. Over time, certain close family mentioned how peaceful I was. Susan and I grew closer and she often mentioned the change she saw in me.

Connye, my wife, brought love, balance and hope back into my life. Her first marriage had not gone well ending in divorce. She had to overcome her emotions to trust I would love her, remain faithful until death, and always treat her with respect and honor.

Some might ask what my point is and I answer: to persevere. Don't give up on God. Love is always, always with us. Light and love is always with us. Certain animals can see in the dark as well as humans can in the light. When we use special equipment, we can also SEE what is hidden. Certain scars will remain from those losses, hurts and broken vows but please don't deny yourself love and joy because of them.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

New Path on Mother's Day

My family and friends have encouraged me for years to write. My wife and daughter beg me to write. Hopefully, this may relieve them of listening to me talk for hours about what I have learned that day.

Today seemed an appropriate time to start this new path. My wife's parents and mine have passed on. Mother's Day and Father's Day have new emotions that are refreshed each year. Our mothers were always encouraging us to press forward and try new activities. 

During the past ten years, Death has visited often reminding me Life can stop any moment. Each moment spent with my wife, family and close friends is more precious each day. Visiting, talking by phone or mail, seeing new pictures are items that could be the last ones we have.

Connye and I were at the lake this week checking on the house and such. Tuffie and I took a walk without his lease. He gains freedom in the woods he doesn't experience in our neighborhood at home. I noticed several trees had been cut down and mentioned that to Connye.

The next morning we were having breakfast and heard a loud metallic scraping noise. The noise was a 70 foot tall Pine tree falling and hitting our neighbor's utility shed. They are active and usually outside cooking or working in the yard. The top landed between their house and the shed with the left branches covering their yard and the right ones breaking off on the shed and taking down their power pole.

The owners observed if the trees had not been removed the previous week, they would have directed the downed tree on top of their home.
No one was hurt.

Connye and I discussed how quickly a regular day doing common things can change in a breath. Her dad sat down to dinner, two years ago, and choked on a piece of food. He died in minutes at the dining table in front of his wife and son.

Life can change our routines and schedules. Those flowers or Thank You cards we intended to give. The kind words we intended to say. The hug or handshake we thought about the last time we met a friend or loved one.

Mother's Day is a great day to start anew again.