It Sucks To Be The Worm

The Valley of the Shadow of Death has nothing to do with cemeteries and everything to do with country clubs. The shadow of death haunts our lives and darkens the pages where God has said, “They all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” The Valley of the Shadow of Death is long, narrow, and is lined with steeply pitched flanks of mountains too high for me to climb. The acoustics of the valley are perfect to echo back every doubt I express and negative word I utter. The pollution I am forced to walk in is myself.

Or, put another way, using the words of a once popular song, “Some days you the windshield, some days you the bug.” I am not feeling so poetic today, so it’s bug for me.

Flutterby.jpg“To whom do lions cast their gentle looks? Not to the beast that would usurp their den. The smallest worm will turn being trodden on.” Shakespeare; Henry VI, Part 3.

This cocoon is one of the inhabitants of the Valley of the Shadow. At one end of the valley it was a meager worm who turned. At the far end of the valley it will be a beautiful butterfly.

Oh God, isn’t it marvelous? Party time! Sfx: the sound of cheering and celebration.

Not if you are the worm. That is a silk coffin, dark, confining, seemingly endless. It is not happy in there and seems like it will never let go. The worst?  Without legs the only thing you can do is inch your way along like a, well, like a worm.

When Shakespeare used the phrase, “The smallest worm will turn,” he knew that no one would misunderstand. It was a widely used expression in his day to indicate a reversal of fortune. Change always comes to the patient. The Bard of Avon was also an avid reader of the Bible.

Making it relevant. This day began in a silk coffin, wrapped in shadow and hanging from a branch of failure. But God. There is a Proverb that says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”

The word fitly spoken came from a friend named Beth who often inspires me with the beautiful stories she writes. Her advice? “Put your faith in God not in other Christians. People make bad choices. They will disappoint but God never changes. He IS who He says He is!” To say that the word came like a slap in the face hard enough to spin my head around would be an understatement. Word delivered, heard, and understood.

Scriptural proof that the long valley ends. “Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” “Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be theirs.” “Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you.” “And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”

Scriptural proof that we don’t have to make the journey inching along. “But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

Thanks Beth. I needed that.

Now What?

Mex2

Nineteen Eighty-Four is a dystopian novel written by George Orwell and first published in 1949. When I was in Mr. Widener’s Literature class forty eight years ago, 1984 was considered satire. A decade after the year 1984 had come and gone, many were taking a second look.

Orwell had managed to catch a glimpse of the future. What Orwell did not see coming was an America where the Oval Office and its Administration should be under surveillance instead of citizens. Nor did he foresee an America where kindergarten and elementary age kids have to be trained what to do if a terrorist with a gun comes to their school. In a single decade America has changed from the land of the free and the home of the brave into a melting pot infected with violence. One man has fundamentally changed America, a lawless man who gets away with it because no one speaks up. His goal to create a permanent Democratic voting base becomes more certain with each passing day.

One candidate for the office of President did speak up and made claims about immigration that unleashed outrage. The words he used were “criminal”, “violent”, “illegal”, “murderers”, and “rapists”. That man has been chastised by a biased media for months. But look at the picture that was taken at a political rally in New Mexico. Shock and awe, they are criminals.

So. The question you should ask yourself is, “Why is there a Mexican flag at an American political rally?

I have been holding out hope that America can be saved, healed, fixed. But I saw something recently that the cynic in me latched onto immediately. One of the best television screenwriters of the decade has been entertaining conservative audiences with creative approaches for presenting Biblical truths. Problem is, that screenwriter is endorsing the candidate who supports the murder of unborn babies and the flying of foreign flags at political rallies. When approached with the issue, the response was overwhelming.

“What difference does it make who [that person] supports?”

Scariest words in the Bible: “Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, because you disdained all my counsel, and would have none of my rebuke, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes, when your terror comes like a storm, and your destruction comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, they would have none of my counsel and despised my every rebuke. Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies. For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them.”

Is it too late to save America?

Energizer Bunny

Every body has one.

I don’t mean the vertical smile that follows you around. I am talking about a small device in your head, a little engine that is as tenacious as the Energizer Bunny. Day or night it does not stop. The engine is called Mutter, and you are born with it. It has no off switch. But, what most never realize is that it does have a transmission with two gears. It can run in Reverse or it can run in Forward.

Reverse is the default position. The reverse gear is called Worry and if run continuously, it can lead to insomnia, ulcers, heart disease, even obesity. Whoops. When worry is left engaged for too long, it becomes psychotic and normal. Look around next time you are on the freeway. Those angry faces? Those are psychotic.

The forward gear is called Prosperity and it has nothing to do with wealth. Prosperity is well-being, the not lack part of “I shall not lack”. It is a result of making a conscious choice every morning and then simply letting the engine idle while you coast along.

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” Psalm 1:1-3

So, the word “meditates” in the above scripture is a Hebrew word “hagah”, it means to mutter. To worry is to walk with the ungodly, stand in the path of sinners, sit with the scornful. To recall the words of scripture as you go about your day, to mutter “the Lord is my shepherd” under your breath is to be like a tree planted by a river. Your “leaf shall not wither”, means that you always have fruit in season. Fruit can mean having a good idea when you need one. “Whatever he does shall prosper.”

New Testament counterpart. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God,” even if it is your own mouth muttering.

The bottom line is that Mutter never stops. But you can change gears. You can worry to the point of sickness and loss, or mutter and trust because you have been planted by water.

 

 

 

The Little Serpent That Could

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is a very large tree. It has to be to hold all of the good and the evil both.

At the bottom of the very big tree was a little serpent who stared upward, plotting the best route to take. The little serpent had a name, Envy. Envy was the runt out of a very large brood of vipers and felt he must prove himself to the others. Envy had been given a special mission that involved his climbing the great tree. So he set out one day while Eve and Adam were preoccupied with roaming the Garden.

It was a most difficult climb, given the lack of arms and legs, but Envy persisted. “I think I can, I think I can,” became the mantra of the little serpent. Many years later Envy would write a self-help book and make a fortune giving motivational seminars to fools who don’t believe God’s word is true.

By and by Envy reached a level on the tree where he would look the woman Eve in the eye. Then, when Eve was least expecting it, the little serpent struck. The venom of the little serpent has a numbing agent in it, an anesthetic that prevents those injected of even being aware that they are already dead. The numbing agent is called Doubt.

“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said -?” That is doubt and the woman Eve was already dead. “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.”

The little serpent had one objective and was so successful in deceiving Eve and Adam that neither of them suspected what Envy had really been up to. So great is the deception of Envy, that even today most cannot see it. Eve and Adam had permission from God to eat from all the trees in the Garden. But the one that Envy focused on was the only one forbidden. For Eve and Adam to fail, they had to first forget about the Tree of Life.

The brood of vipers that Envy had come from, has many members. Covetousness, grudge, resentment, rivalry, jealousy, hatred, racism, avarice, and political ambition. All of these have a venom with a self-maintaining efficacy so very deadly today.

“And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. —Ecclesiastes 4:4

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”‘ Revelation 2:7

Racial Bias In the Courtroom

Yesterday I watched civic duty become civic dooty.

It is part and parcel of every citizen to support our judicial system. When the summons arrives in the mail informing that you have been selected for jury duty, you serve. That’s the system.

Yesterday, that system failed. I wish that I could say that no one saw it coming, but that would be a lie. The warning was given 90 years ago by someone who recognized the danger, but the warning was ignored.

Henry Cabot Lodge was an American Republican Senator and historian from Massachusetts. He had a PhD in history from Harvard and was a supporter of U.S. expansion. He knew a truth of immigration now forgotten. Living in America does not make someone an America any more than standing in a garage makes them a car.

To prevent what he foresaw as a collapse of freedom, Cabot insisted on strict limits for expansion and said so on the floor of the Senate.

“True Americanism is opposed utterly too any political divisions resting on race and religion.”

“If a man is going to be an American at all let him be so without any qualifying adjectives, and if he is going to be something else, let him drop the word American from his personal description.”

Speaking of Lady Liberty he said, “Strong, generous, and confident, she has nobly served mankind. Beware how you trifle with your marvelous inheritance, this great land of ordered liberty, for if we stumble and fall freedom and civilization everywhere will go down in ruin.”

Falling dominoes. The jury, myself included, was given a case and instructed to render a verdict. Simple enough, examine the evidence presented, understand the express limits of the law involved, and find the defendant either not guilty or guilty.

The problem? One of the jurors was of the same ethnic origin as the defendant. “True Americanism is opposed utterly too any political divisions resting on race – .” Even though the evidence was clear and at one point the defendant said from witness stand that he had committed the crime he was accused of, that one juror refused to convict. Even after hours of deliberation Juror #5 remained adamant.

The judge declared a mistrial and a guilty man walked free.

There are twelve million Illegals living in this country, affecting the economy, the job market, and the judicial system. Barak Obama vowed to fundamentally change America. How do you like it so far?