Sunday, August 30, 2009

"Goodbye Summer"

Autumn is 22 days away. But it sure feels like it came 3 weeks early from where I sit.
Low of 50 degrees tonight. Highs for the first week of school are to be somewhere between 68 and 72 each day. Maybe that's normal for you all in North Dakota or Minnesota, but for us yinzers in the Pittsburgh area, that's not normal.

I was going to try to compile a list of what I learned this summer, but my memory is just not allowing me to find anythings to share. Not that the summer was uneventful. It just was.
Maybe I've got the "end-of-summer, back-to-school" blues. I'm not sure.

I guess I will look forward then.

I guess I'm wallowing. But I know I shouldn't. Too much goodness lies ahead.

Hey, If you got a moment, check this out: Climb Ridges.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Some times it's just one of those days.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

During one of our camping trips this summer, we visited Fort Necessity near Farmington, PA. It is only a few miles away from Ohiopyle State Park and the Youghiogheny River. Fort Necessity is a National Parks site. It's claim to fame is being the site of the first battle in the French and Indian War... which some consider the foundations for the American Revolution.

Fort Necessity isn't very big. It was pretty pathetic in fact.
It was apptly named. The only purpose that it had was to
give Washington and his men some cover for what was to be
sure the onslaught that was coming. They needed a place to take a
stand, and the built Fort Necessity in 5 days.

In our lives, we need a Fort Necessity. We need a refuge from the onslaught that awaits or even the one that is pouring down around us.

"In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Free me from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge. " (Psalm 31:1-4 NIV)

Fort Necessity in Farmington, PA is crude, rough and anything but mighty fortress.

Praise be to God that we have access to the Strong Fortress in our time of necessity.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I'm really not in the habit of blogging twice in the same day, but after completing the above book, "Scars & Stripes" by Eugene B. McDaniel Capt. USN (Ret), I had to make an exception.

I was at my dad's over the weekend and asked him if he had anything worth reading. For some reason I love to read these days. Never enjoyed it all through school or college, but now, I can't seem to stop.

He (my dad) said he had a book on his desk that my aunt had given to him, but he hadn't got around to reading. So I said I'd take it.

I am so thankful I did.

I'm not so good at summarizing or writing a book review, so I've borrowed an account:

"The story of Eugene "Red" McDaniel is not only about a prisoner of war in Vietnam, it is the story of a hero who defied the odds and overcame extreme adversity.

Eugene McDaniel was shot down in 1967 and spent 5 years in captivity in North Vietnam's Hanoi Hilton, Zoo, and Zoo Annex prison compounds. While imprisoned, he made very aggressive strides to keep secret communications going between the prisoners even though such communicating was prohibited. In continued defiance of his captors, he paid a dear price.

McDaniel had the unfortunate distinction of being one of the most viciously tortured prisoners of the Vietnam war. Methods used on him were sadistic and barbaric and leaves you wondering how his jailors could possible treat another human being in this manner.

In the most trying of times, when all hope was lost and despair was complete, McDaniel turned to faith and prayer in God and was lifted up from the depths he was in. McDaniel was a constant source of optimism and strength for his fellow prisoners during confinement.

This book, outstanding in its message of courage, perseverance, and inspiration, will leave you knowing that no matter how difficult things can become, faith in God will always see you through.

A magnificent book from start to finish and definitely recommended to everyone."

The unspeakable torture that was heaped upon Red McDaniel was summarized this way in his own words:

"Whatever honor I had carried into Vietnam, then, as an American, a military man, the achievements of my past life were nothing compared to what I now sensed in what He had give to me of His character, His knowledge. I had been broken in that prison, brought to the very end of myself, allowed to suffer so I might know how to help those who would suffer around me. I had gone to Vietnam a respected churchman who had a healthy, ideal family-- but had not the inner capacity, in God or anyone else, to minister genuinely to the suffering of another person. For some reason, known only to the Lord, I had been chosen of Him to be that instrument for Him, and what I had gone through would bring a new sensitivity to the needs of others and perhaps an example of the goodness of God to them. Through my suffering, others could see proof that He would keep them in their hour of darkness as well."

I encourage all to read this book, "Scars & Stripes."

"Onions and Chili"

I have eaten plenty of hot dogs this summer, but for some reason I get a craving for 2 of those Brighton Hot Dog Shoppe dogs.

Onions, chili. A small fry cheese chili. Regular diet coke.

Sure, it's probably clogging veins and arteries somewhere inside of my body, but it's too yummy to pass up from time to time.

SO, if you're ever in the Beaver County area, stop at a Dog Shoppe, it's so well worth it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Trying to catch the moment of flash of a firework blowing up, for me at least, took too much patience, to much luck and too much, should I say, too many tries.

It certainly is a split second. Exactly how much, I find myself lacking the desire to google it.

But it certainly is a here and gone experience.

What is our life?

According to James 4:14 (NET Bible)
"What is your life like? For you are a puff of smoke that appears for a short time and then vanishes."

The NIV version translates: "What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a
little while and then vanishes."

And still, the King James Version says: "For what is your life? It is even a vapour,
that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."

Puff of smoke? mist? vapour?

But too me, the most important part of each of those is this: "a short time", "for a little while"
and "for a little time."

I once heard it put this way: "One never knows which breath will be their very last."

So now you are saying to yourself: "What's the point?" And so here it is. This life is too short.
You may live to be 101 years, 101 days, 101 hours... life in this human body is too short.
We need to understand this. We need to be prepared for what comes next. Are you prepared for what comes next? It may only be a breath away.