Category Archives: General Observations

Just things I see that make me think.

Support Your Local Artists (and bloggers)

Things are slowly getting back to normal and I’m painting again.

If you would like to beautify your dreary environment or cover a hole in your wall, please consider my drawings, paintings, and photographs 🙂

Original works will vary in price, but the cost of prints will be pretty much the same across the board. ALL prices will INCLUDE the cost of shipping within the United States.

The highest quality prints are those that look and feel like the original watercolor painting. They also cost more to make. They are the “gicleé reproduction” prints.

Photographic prints are still high quality, but easier to produce. They will cost considerably less.

  • 9×12” gicleé reproduction prints are $30 (with free shipping in the U.S.
  • 5×7” gicleé prints are $16.50 (free shipping)
  • 9×12” photographic prints are $12 (free shipping)
  • 5×7” photographic prints are $10 (includes shipping)

Below are a few examples. More are coming in the weeks ahead.

https://checkout.square.site/buy/C76XODUV67SN773Q5RRUA42D
https://checkout.square.site/buy/ZYR62ONRAWYRCANCI2PI7YPS
https://checkout.square.site/buy/7I6EXF2MKHV7Q5MLI44V6AO5
https://checkout.square.site/buy/JPVT5LBXQJDSSH262VOCL3UA
https://checkout.square.site/buy/32LJBRYGO57CWDWGJWE3ZQGL

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Filed under art, Bethlehem Baptist Church, General Observations

“In the End”

Music

I love good music, especially live music played by the ones singing their own songs. As a matter of fact, as a musician, I respect those who get up on stage and perform, regardless their style. At least they’re not singing to tracks.

Therefore (full disclosure), when I am riding in my car on long trips (anything over an hour) I tend to scan the channels for anything to keep me awake. For the most part, when I listen to the radio or music from Pandora or other sources it’s usually Christian music or talk radio. But sometimes talk radio can put me to sleep, so that’s when I turn to the “worldly music.”

Sheryl Crow

Last night, as I was driving home late from dinner I had with a fellow pastor, I decided to listen to some 1980’s rock on Pandora. That’s when a song I’d never heard before started cranking out a catchy, enticing rhythm. It was a song by Sheryl Crow called “In the End.” Did she do that song in the 80s?

Anyway, Sheryl Crow is an accomplished songwriter as much as she’s ever been a singer. I like her voice and music style, so when when all of that talent comes together the sum is usually something entertaining. This song, “In the End,” is a prime example.

The Jesus Part

So, I started tapping my left foot as I began keeping time with my fingers on the steering wheel. Because “all I want to do” is stay awake, I didn’t really bother paying close attention to the lyrics.

But then the lyrics of the second verse of Sheryl Crow’s song spurred my attention.

There’s a man on the cross with His arms open wide
And a tear that can quench the world’s fire
But His name is a shield to the ones who would wield
Their own power and greed and desire

Sheryl Crow

She didn’t call Him out by name, but I do believe she was referencing Jesus. And on top of that, she was singing about those who use the name of Jesus to become rich and powerful. In other words, she was singing to the ministers who would take advantage of the “believers,” a common theme and stereotype promoted by the left.

A Shield?

Notice that Crow said the name of Jesus is a “shield” for those who want to use Jesus to get what they want. It’s nothing new, either. Remember Simon Magnus from the book of Acts? He actually wanted to purchase the power of the Holy Spirit in order to use God’s power to make a profit.

Have you ever heard it said, “Jesus I like, but I can’t stand his followers”? That’s kinda the idea.

But false prophets, millionaire ministers, and greedy pastors are not the only ones who hide behind a “shield,” a banner, a motif, or an ideal to fleece the sheep. Ever noticed that the most broken, crime-ridden, blood-splattered, poverty-stricken cities have been run by Democrats?

Have you ever noticed that the very same people who have been in charge for so long continue to say they are the ones needed to fix things? Why is there still poverty in black communities? Why is our national debt practically untenable, yet they say we are not spending enough on infrastructure, education, and abortion clinics?

Why is it that every Democrat politician leaves office richer than when they were elected, and by far more than the accumulated wealth from their salaries? To be fair, I could ask the same for the Republicans, too!

In the beginning of Crow’s song she is clearly referring to politicians and their “believers” who blindly accept every promise. The second verse shines light on the greedy preacher or televangelist. Both will eventually get what’s coming to them… in the end.

But what of those who year after year, decade after decade, hide behind the “shield” of the disenfranchised, the poor, the homeless, the hungry, etc., etc., etc.? It’s so easy to label those behind the pulpit, but what about the podium?

In the End,” who are the ones always telling their followers exactly what they want to hear, yet never delivering? Who are the ones hiding behind the “shields” of race, gender, equality, tolerance, benefits, and handouts while accumulating more and more power over those for whom they promise to wipe their tears?

I don’t believe in Karma, but it could explain the increased rat population.

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Filed under General Observations, Jesus, music

Blatant Suggestions for Your Black Friday and Cyber Monday Shopping

Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

James 4:2 (KJV)

I’m Just Asking

Maybe you’ve done all your shopping. Maybe you only plan to purchase a few small gifts for your dearest loved ones. Maybe it’s just you and your significant other – no kids, no relatives, nobody you like at work – and you’re only getting a single gift for each other.

Whatever your situation may be, unless you are out of work and broke, I am going to ask you to consider how you can gift me with some items I would like to have.

In the above verse, James said, “You have not, because you ask not.” Evidently, people will literally start wars and kill people over “stuff” they want. I don’t want that! I want peace! That’s why I’m asking 🙂

Let’s avoid that whole global conflict nonsense, shall we?

My List

So, if you have been looking for somebody to buy for, or if you have extra money in your investment accounts that you need to burn, please allow me to share with you some options. The following are items I would like for YOU to purchase and give to ME.

Ready?

As you can see, the Tudor looks pretty good on my wrist. It could even help me tell the time!
  1. A Watch. It doesn’t have to be too expensive, nor does it have to be a specific style; I just like watches. But if you want me to ask for specifics, sure, I can do that!
    • Rolex Explorer (or pretty much any other model)
    • Tudor Black Bay 58 with the metal bracelet. But of course, I’d take pretty much any Tudor watch, within reason.
  2. Tubes of high-quality watercolor and/or gouache paint. Have you seen the price of good paint??
  3. A Truck. Believe me, where I live and work …. I could really use a truck.

There ya’ go! Now you have your choice of several things you could give me because I asked. I feel better, don’t you?

Just give me a call if you have any questions about color, size, make, model, or brand. It could be like I ask, then you ask, then we both get stuff!

Cool, isn’t it?

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume [it] upon your lusts.

James 4:3 (KJV)

Dadgum it!

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Filed under Christmas, current events, General Observations, watches

If You Thought Friday the 13th Was Scary, Try Sunday Morning Before Church!

I’m Surviving

If you didn’t notice, today is Friday the 13th. Are you still alive, or did a maniacal, undead mask-wearer visit your un-chaperoned slumber party? The night is still young, I suppose.

Well, so far I haven’t encountered a single monster – except our little dog who came in from running around in the wet grass and jumped in the bed.

Movies

Back in the 1980s, a movie came out to spoof Friday the 13th horror films. It was called Saturday the 14th. The promo line was, “It gets bad on Friday the 13th, but it gets worse on Saturday the 14th.” …..Whatever.

Real life, however,  is far more terrifying than movies. As a matter of fact, the scariest day for any pastor comes every week. Someone should make a movie about it – a documentary. It could be called…..“Sunday Morning (before Church)”

Here’s what the announcer could say during the promo commercial…

“Forget abandoned campgrounds, haunted lakes, and dark rooms. Forget about blade-wielding criminals that won’t die. Forget about whatever goes bump in the night, requiring someone in a bathrobe and slippers to say, “Is anybody there?” All the real demons come out on Sunday morning before church….like clockwork. This is REAL!”

Reality

There is a Devil, believe me! Even if the Bible did not teach of his existence, I could take you to him, or at least one of his workers, at about 9am on any given Sunday. All I would need to summon his presence would be to ask, “Honey, where are my shoes?” I could also say something like, “How long are you going to be in the bathroom?” Any of these phrases is guaranteed to conjure something or someone.

The evidence of his presence can be seen in the items that come up missing. For instance, the Devil is regularly hiding stuff that was in total view only 8 hours before. He or his demons love to hide shoes, hairbrushes, shirts, dresses, pantyhose, lipstick, and Bibles. Occasionally, he even likes to hide the church mail that comes to the parsonage, leaving the pastor to look irresponsible.

Predictable

But thankfully, one thing’s a constant: even though Satan is real, just like in a poorly-written movie, his ways are predictable.

Unlike our God, whose “judgments are unsearchable, and His ways past finding out” (Romans 11:33), the “wiles” of the devil never deviate from his modus operandi.

The Greek word translated “wiles” in the KJV is  methodia (μεθοδεία). Essentially, it is a word made from combining  meta and hodos (“after,” and “a way”), and is used to describe what could be called “a decided plan of deception and trickery.”

Satan is a “method” actor, in other words. He plays a part – a predictable part – in trying to deceive, trick, thwart, anger, harm, and sidetrack God’s people. He follows a pattern that can be anticipated and for which preparations can be made. It’s all in the Script.

Preparing for Sunday

So, why do unseen forces attack on Sunday morning? They do it because it is the Lord’s Day. They do it because they want us to be ineffective and powerless. They know that hurting, lost, and desperate souls need to be ministered unto, many of which might be on the verge of giving up.

The forces we battle against would love to use a missing hairbrush, a wrinkled shirt, a knicked face, burnt toast, or an upset stomach to literally raise the dead – the “flesh.”  The enemy knows that “they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:8).

Fortunately for us, all we have to do is be watchful (1 Peter 5:8), armored (Ephesians 6:11), and filled with His Spirit, the “power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10). The “wiles” of the devil, his schemes, and his evil plans are no match for the God “who performeth all things for me” (Psalm 57:2).

Bonus: 6 Ways to Have a Better Sunday Morning

  1. Do all you can do to get ready for church the night before. If necessary, get ready at different times, so as not to get ticked off at children or risk being asked, “What do you think of this dress?
  2. Take different cars, even if your 10-year-old has to drive the lawnmower.
  3. Reduce dress standards/expectations so you can go to church looking like you just woke up.
  4. Put duct tape over everybody’s mouths until they get to the door of the church.
  5. Get up in the middle of the night to eat all you can so you can avoid breakfast, thereby avoiding arguing over what to eat.
  6. Become Adventist and go to church on Saturday (last resort).

If I Could Make a Movie

I do wish that I could make a movie that featured some of those evil characters in horror films. One, in particular, is the guy that comes and kills people in their dreams, Freddie Kruger. Another would be the ultimate movie villain, Count Dracula. Add to the list all the other demonic entities that send women running through the woods in high heels, only to trip on a spider web.

Just for fun, I would have all the demonic bad guys come up against a couple of praying saints, or an old preacher who’s broken-hearted and fed up with sin.

The bad guys would come against them in full force, swearing and threatening and promising all kinds of pain and suffering. Then when all hope seemed lost, right at the moment of despair, as the demoniacs were making their charge,

they’d run into a solid, unconquerable wall of Light…

the ringing sound of a massive sword being unsheathed would be heard…

terror would fill the eyes of the attackers at the sound of a Voice, saying…

These are mine!

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. – 1 John 4:4

Now, where are my clean socks? I knew I put them in the drawer…..Honey?!

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Filed under Christian Living, clothing, General Observations, Uncategorized

Do Your Duty…Vote…or NOT!

This Tuesday will be the day we go to the polls to vote.  Unless you were one who voted early, Tuesday will be the day you should do your public duty as a citizen of the United States.  VOTE!

But WAIT!!!  Do you know what you are doing?

Do you know who you are going to vote for?  If not, why? If you go to the polls November 3rd just so you can push a few buttons, or check off a few marks, what good did you do?  If you only go to fulfill a responsibility, without knowing any details, what kind of steward of this blood-bought gift are you?  

If you don’t know the difference between liberty and liberalism, democracy and democrats, or socialism and social networking – DON’T VOTE!  Just stay home and watch Oprah or Dr. Phil.  

When others are heading to the polls that evening, just veg out while you enjoy another episode of some cake-baking, tatoo-designing, dance-off competition.

For over 200 years men and women have been shedding their blood for the freedom we enjoy.

More will die to preserve it in the future, that is, if we still have freedom to defend. If the uneducated, illiterate, uninformed and apathetic continue to vote for more government, all so that they can receive more “freebies,” not to mention tax-payer funded health care, then blood was shed in vain.

Stay at home, ye who do not know what is going on.  Stay at home, all ye who will vote simply to remove “Orange Man” from the White House.  Stay at home all ye who said “anything is better than what we have.”  

Please, for the love of God and country, STAY HOME!  

Let the people who have strong ideals go vote.  Let the mature, the concerned, the alert, the forward-looking, the reader, the listener, the active citizen (as opposed to the apathetic moocher) go vote.  We know the importance of what we are doing and take it seriously.  We can handle the responsibility…

Yes, we can!

People all over the world would, have, and will die for the opportunity to have what we have.

Take it seriously.  Make yourself a student, at least a “C” student, of what and Who made this country a “shining city on a hill.”  Read the Constitution.  Read the Bible.  Take responsibility for your own actions.  Know what the candidates truly stand for, then make a decision.  

But if you’re wondering if it’s worth taking the time to drive to the poll…if you have to watch CNN right before you walk out the door to help you decide who to vote for…please, we’ll send you a “I Voted” sticker, just stay home.  

It’s your patriotic duty.

But if you want to know what’s at stake, this will help.

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Filed under Christian Living, Culture Wars, General Observations, Uncategorized, voting, World View

The Peace of a Clear Conscience

This first part has nothing to do with why I am writing today. Just bear with me for a moment.

To begin with, I want to say that I feel like my blogging life has nearly dwindled and fizzled away. It’s sorta sad, I must say. For so long blogging has been an integral part of my life – over 10 years, to be precise.

However, the changes that have taken place in my life over the last year have forced me to reallocate my short blocks of attention to new places. So many things have demanded my energy that the simple task of sitting down to write has often brought feelings of dread.

The way I see it, there are more important things in this pandemic-riddled, socially-divided, always stressed, perpetually pressured world than keeping a regular blogging schedule and maintaining a high number of viewers.

I’ll be honest with you, up until the virus hit, I didn’t have any hobbies. On the other hand, there was my blog. There was this one and Proverbial Thought into which I put a lot of mental and creative energy. But now, here in the “new normal,” blogging has fallen way down the priority list.

Do I want to stop blogging? Of course not! But I definitely can’t afford for this to sap away valuable time and effort from other ministry efforts. The key will be to keep things in their proper places.

If you’ve gotten this far, you’re a wonderful person!

The real reason I decided to write was not to talk about blogging, but about Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s no-note responses to Senate questioning. It was beautiful.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, when you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything. In other words, when you always tell the truth you don’t have to remember the lie you told last week, last month, or ten minutes ago.

The thing about Judge Barrett’s testimony was that she didn’t use any notes!

Judge Amy Coney Barrett

She literally sat there for hours answering question after question about her past, past court cases she adjudicated, and even other cases with which the Democrats tried to make her trip. Yet, with no notes, she answered their questions with calm poise and grace.

When questions came up about her oath of office, she did bristle a little. In her lengthy testimony she made it clear on multiple occasions that she had NEVER broken her oath and she NEVER would. I believe her! And I believe it is precisely because she had kept her oath and done nothing crooked as a judge that she could sit there with a sense of peace and serenity that few of the senators even came close to having.

She didn’t have notes because she was smart enough to remember. But she also didn’t have notes because she didn’t have to remember what she never did.

Oh, how sweet it would be if all of us could have the peace of a clear conscience.

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Filed under General Observations, politics

Did Death Come Calling? Start Deleting

This is probably going to be the most morbid thing I’ve written in a while, but people expect the unexpected from my writing.

When was the last time you scrolled through the contacts on your cell phone in search of a name, then all of a sudden stumbled across a person’s name who died years ago? To be honest, every time I look for someone in my contact list it happens.

But why are those names and phone numbers still in our phones? Why is it, if you’re anything like me, we find it hard to delete them?

Honestly, what do you need a phone number for if the person is dead? Have you given any thought to what might happen should someone get that number and accidently call you while your either driving or alone in a dark room at night? All of a sudden the face of a dead friend pops up on your screen as that special ring tone blares out, “Ah, Ah, Ah, Ah staying alive, staying alive!”

So, here’s a challenge that I’m going to make for all of us: If death came calling, and they answered, delete their number.

But when you do, how about let me know in the comments how many names you wound up deleting!

Creepy, isn’t it?

Update: I found 16 names. I can only bring myself to delete a few. I think, for me, it’s that I don’t want to forget.

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Filed under community, General Observations

Gen. Robert E. Lee: A Man Worth Remembering, Not Erasing

I don’t know where it went during the move, but I am not ashamed to admit that I used to have a 5×7 portrait of Gen. Robert E. Lee hanging in my office (and I’d like another). Robert E. Lee was more than just a Confederate General; he was a man of supreme moral character and a leader like few this world has ever seen.

Yet, today, his statue in Virginia – his home state for which he fought – has been torn down by people who have no appreciation for history or bigger men than them. Petty and pitiful men are convinced that the removal of Lee’s statue will move us “forward,” but without a beginning, a foundation, a starting place, a past, there is no moving forward; it’s nothing more than flailing in mid air.

Therefore, I want to share several quotes from the man so many hate, yet know nothing about. The man that was President Lincoln’s first pick to lead the Union Army. The man that was partly responsible for making the South the “Bible belt” through the revivals he encouraged to sweep through the ranks of the troops. The man who hated war and hated slavery! 

“I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than a dissolution of the Union. It would be an accumulation of all the evils we complain of, and I am willing to sacrifice everything but honour for its preservation. I hope, therefore, that all constitutional means will be exhausted before there is a resort to force. Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labour, wisdom, and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will.”

In a letter to his sister, he wrote… “With all my devotion to the Union and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home. I have, therefore, resigned my commission in the Army, and, save in defense of my native state, with the sincere hope that my poor services may never be needed, I hope I may never be called on to draw my sword.”

“What a cruel thing is war; to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbours, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world!”

“My heart bleeds at the death of every one of our gallant men.”

“So far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished. I believe it will be greatly for the interests of the South. So fully am I satisfied of this, as regards Virginia especially, that I would cheerfully have lost all I have lost by the war, and have suffered all I have suffered, to have this object attained.”

“The march of Providence is so slow, and our desires so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.

From the Encyclopedia Britannica:

Although history knows him mostly as “the Rebel General,” Lee was a disbeliever in slavery and secession and was devoutly attached to the republic that his father and kinsmen had helped bring into being. He was, moreover, very advanced in his rejection of war as a resolution of political conflicts—a fact that has been almost entirely ignored by posterity. As a U.S. Army colonel in Texas during the secession crises of late 1860, he wrote, “[If] strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, I shall mourn for my country and for the welfare and progress of mankind.”

“It is history that teaches us to hope.” Why would we want to erase it?

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Filed under America, Culture Wars, current events, General Observations, History

Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?

It’s Time for Boldness

Dear friends, now, maybe more now than ever, it is time for those who know the Truth to be bold as lions.

I will not argue over perspectives, for each has his own. I will not sit here and pontificate over another’s life experiences and what fears they have, for each has their own.

However, it is my RESPONSIBILITY to speak out when doctrine, theology, especially the doctrines of Jesus Christ are being attacked and polluted without rebuttal. Folks, the words of Paul to Timothy are just as true today as they were 2,000 years ago.

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” – 1 Timothy 4:16

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” – 2 Timothy 4:2

So, when the head of the BLM of Greater New York says on national television that Jesus was “…the most famous black radical revolutionary in history…” and uses that false teaching to justify violence, it’s time we say condemn the torpedoes and go full speed ahead.

Bad Theology/Bad Praxeology 

Praxeology is the “study of human action and conduct.” What we see being carried out in the streets of America is conduct based on bad theology and fueled by bad Christology (theological interpretation of the person and work of Christ).

I am firmly convinced that our actions as humans, especially how we treat others or respond to their actions towards us, can be traced back to our theological, especially our Christological beliefs – whether we think we have any or not.

As pastors, there can be no greater responsibility than to boldly and unapologetically proclaim the biblical and historical Jesus Christ of Nazareth, His true mission, and our dependency on His atoning work on the Cross.

“Who do men say that I, the Son of man, am?” 

That’s the question asked by Jesus of his disciples. The answer Peter gave was, “Thou are the the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

That is what the following sermon I delivered this past Sunday morning was about. I would encourage you to watch and share.

“Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?”

I do apologize for the less-than-HD quality. The internet where we are is so slow that we have to upload at 520p in order to get anything done the same day. We pray for fiber optics!

 

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Filed under America, Bethlehem Baptist Church, General Observations, Jesus, Preaching, Southern Baptist

Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties. Really?

Just A Thought…

It’s June, and weddings are all the rage. But so are bachelor and bachelorette parties.

Dear Christian, I want to ask a serious question. Why do you think it’s acceptable in God’s eyes to act sinfully? If marriage is holy, and to be with your love is the greatest joy you can hope to have, what last fling, what last wild night, what time of debauchery is to be treasured so much that it will be missed when you say your vows?

I do find it strange that people who have bachelor and bachelorette parties even commit to marriage. Have you not found the one true love to which none other can compare? If so, then what is there to capture in one last night of freedom that he or she hasn’t already replaced or proven more desirable?

If you are engaged to be married, dear Christian, you have already made clear your intent to be faithful, not only after marriage, but until that wonderful and holy day. Therefore, if what you do the night of your party is something you could never do as a married person, you already suffer from a misconception and non-biblical view of marriage.

 

 

 

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Filed under Alcohol, Christian Maturity, Defining Marriage, General Observations, Marriage, Uncategorized, Witnessing