Archive for July, 2011

Definition of Tax Holiday?…Wait…What?

July 31, 2011

The question in today’s title will be answered in a minute.

First, let’s review the meaning of the word “holiday.”

I went to Webster’s Dictionary online and found this definition.

a day on which one is exempt from work; specifically: a day marked by a general suspension of work in commemoration of an event

Once I read it, my thesis today changed.

My initial intent was to ridicule liberals for constantly saying that only through higher taxes and the closing of loopholes for the rich, can we balance our budget.

Yet, here they are enacting law, that is a tax loophole.

Ironic enough, right?

Yet, something about the definition of the word “holiday” almost had me rolling out of my lazy boy in laughter.

I believe, for liberals to win in 2012, they’ll need to have roughly 51% of the population collecting a government check, or as the definition says…”exempt from work…in commemoration of an event.”

As far as I can tell, the only “event” that chunk of the non-working population would want to celebrate, would be the re-election of the President.

It just pains me that the “holiday” has to last them the remainder of their lives, while the rest of us only seem to get one weekend off a year.

The best line of all came from the President’s pal, Governor Deval Patrick, quoted in the news article below. (last paragraph)

Mass. House approves sales tax holiday

BOSTON — The Massachusetts House yesterday signed off on a mid-August sales tax holiday that would give shoppers a brief break from the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax, amounting to a roughly $20 million tax cut for consumers.

Calling it a boon for local businesses and a break for consumers, the House voted 123-23 to pass the bill establishing a sales tax holiday on the weekend of Aug. 13 and 14, rejecting claims by outnumbered critics who argued it represents an unaffordable giveaway.

Patrick on Monday said he supported the holiday “frankly, not because it is particularly fiscally prudent, but because it is popular.”

The Governor’s words speak for themselves.

All I can say is, my side hurts from laughing.

I’m reminded of a one-line lecture my dad would regularly recite to us, whenever we kids were in need of discipline.

He’d say:

I’m not here to be popular with you,

I’m here to be right.

Well dad…it looks like you were wrong.

Our Governor did something to be popular with us and the only way he could do it, was to move to the right.

Keep up the good work guys.

Now all us rich people can go out and buy stuff next weekend, shirking our moral obligation by stealing from the poor…or should I say, from the folks on holiday?

You Say You Want a Revelation?

July 30, 2011

John: Hello 700 Club?

My name is John.

I need prayer for my family.

700 Club Prayer Partner: Sure John, that’s very noble of you, to ask for God to bless your family.

Is there anything in particular we should pray about?

John: Yes, my wife Yoko.

Nothing in the news could have been better timed than this story.

Considering the monotony in the debate on the debt ceiling and the ridiculous arguments from the White House about how higher taxes should be part of the solution, I really needed something to make me smile.

I learned last night, it seems as though John Lennon was fascinated by televangelists like Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson and Billy Graham.

It’s also being reported that his wife Yoko was not happy about it, especially when he called the 800 numbers for prayer.

Secular Humanists everywhere are covering their ears, saying it must be a hoax.

But, here are a few things to consider.

Just like believers sometimes have doubts about God being real and may at times not pray….atheists sometimes have doubts about their philosophy and do the opposite?

God is a consuming fire.

We are dry timber without Him.

When a soul draws closer to God, whether by prayer, or through Scripture reading, or best of all, our witness, there’s a chance that dry soul will catch fire.

Once that happens, no one, not even Yoko or The Walrus, can put it out.

A flame that God starts, can only be doused by our own watered down attitude toward Him.

I’m not sure how this story leaked, but all I can say is…

Alright…

Alright…

Alright…

ALRIGHT!

Does God Want Us to Impress Him?

July 29, 2011

I posted two blogs today.

The first was yesterday’s, which, for some reason never made it to my Facebook page, where the majority of my readers link to it.

The second is this one.

What’s most coincidental, today’s theme is about how God sometimes needs us to say and do nothing.

 A sign?

…maybe.

In today’s Gospel, the recommended reading is from Luke 10.

Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.  There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”

There’s a healthy debate in Christian circles about how one earns salvation.

Some say faith only–others say by works–while still another group says a little of both.

I say–by God’s Grace only.

At the end of the day–nothing we do–“needs” to be done.

God can do it all by Himself.

The things we do, for others and for ourselves, sanctifies us, so that we can enjoy the Spirit of God when It moves in our lives.

In the example above, Martha thinks she’s the more righteous daughter of Israel.

She’s wrong.

Her sister Mary, tuned into the majesty of the moment, drops everything to listen to Almighty God preach in her humble home.

I’m reminded of the times we as parents bring our children to the ocean, or the mountains, just to let them see and hear God’s awesome power.

Nothing needs to be said.

Nothing needs to be done.

We just let Him speak, in His own way, allowing Creation to impress us with what He has done.

Surprise Messages

July 28, 2011

This morning I spent an hour writing a message about signs from God that are foolproof.

When I went to upload it, somehow, I was not logged in properly and the blog vanished.

Should I be upset?

Don’t ask.

Would you be?

There must be a reason this happened.

Whatever we think should occur each day, may not  be what He thinks is best.

We must remain open to surprise twists in the game of life.

If not, we’ll have broken laptops or bruised relationships in our families.

God knows what’s best.

We just have to accept the hand we’re dealt and never fold out of fear.

The enemy is always bluffing.

Free Botox

July 27, 2011

Usually, when you see a couple together at the airport, they’re about the same age.

Recently, I noticed a pair hurrying toward their gate.

From a distance, it looked a bit like the gentlemen was at least 10-15 years older than the lady.

Until she got closer.

Then I noticed the bloated lips, cheeks and other Botox affected areas.

She looked good, but, it wasn’t real.

And, it was so obvious, one could not help but stare.

Yes…I’m guilty.

This is not a criticism of those who partake.

God knows we all want to look good.

It’s a comparison to another, quite older, whose face was dramatically changed.

His name was Moses and his treatment cost nothing.

Check out Exodus 34:

As Moses came down from Mount Sinai
with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands,
he did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant while he conversed with the LORD.
When Aaron, then, and the other children of Israel saw Moses and noticed how radiant the skin of his face had become, they were afraid to come near him.
…Later on, all the children of Israel came up to him,
and he enjoined on them all that the LORD
had told him on Mount Sinai.
When he finished speaking with them,
he put a veil over his face.
Whenever Moses entered the presence of the LORD to converse with him,
he removed the veil until he came out again.
On coming out, he would tell the children of Israel
all that had been commanded.
Then the children of Israel would see
that the skin of Moses’ face was radiant…

Physically speaking, all of us are headed in the wrong direction.

That is, we’re growing older.

The effects of age need no explanation.

What we too often forget, especially those in the beauty industry, is  the power of a Holiness inspired smile.

It’s so contagious, it makes one more approachable.

In Moses case, he received God’s most radical makeover and was too good to be true.

In our case, since most of the Revelation of God has already happened, we can boldly approach the throne, knowing that which He imparts will make us more attractive.

Physically speaking, our face may not change at all, but, like Mother Teresa, whose skin was severely weathered, her smile was a magnet.

Like Moses, she got her facelift free.

As you unload burdens, He unloads doubt, fear and worry from your brow.

And most of all, that smile will widen.

No cost, or ridicule…just a priceless improvement.

Hard Hats on the Golf Course

July 26, 2011

I recently played a round of golf early in the morning in another state.

I’m not very good.

A sign on the course read:

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR INJURY OR DAMAGE CAUSED BY ERRANT SHOTS

Not the most comforting thought to a hacker like me.

Instead of thinking about follow-thru, there I was, wondering if I had enough liability insurance.

Or any at all.

Who the heck knows?

Fortunately for me, the course staffers, who seemed like a small band of farm workers, were all wearing white hard hats.

No sense yelling “fore”…their lawn mowers and weed-whackers were running.

With their heads protected, I was confident to tee off in their direction and not have to let out a futile yell.

As Christians working the fields for the Kingdom, we too must put on the “helmet of salvation and the shield of faith.”

Attacks will come, sometimes deliberate, but most other times, errantly.

If we lose patience with our friends and criticize them, blowing our testimony, we both suffer.

If we overreact to criticism hurled our way, we become weaker.

The helmet of faith, as real as any other, should keep us out in the field, sowing and reaping, no matter what is pitched at our heads.

Like a weathered Aggie, never looking right or left, just plowing ahead with a sole mission, we must trust our equipment to protect.

The Word we yield is true armor that exceeds every threat.

It’s never been dented.

The only concern…?

…forgetting to wear it.

One Hour Equals One Minute

July 25, 2011

Recently a dear friend and relative asked me how  it is I’m able to write a meaningful reflection each day.

I’m not sure.

Fact is, only on the rarest occasion, am I able to write one in less than an hour.

Even though you take under a minute to read it, my committment to creating a daily masterpiece…don’t laugh…is that serious.

Last night, as part of the entertainment portion of the trade show I’m attending, they had a karaoke night.

I stood against the wall trying to look inconspicuous.

The third singer to get up was a ringer for sure.

He was a college theology professor with over 30 years experience singing in church.

There’s no way his 3 minutes of a perfectly sung Cara Mia, along with a pleasing falsetto–just happened.

Jesus spent 33 years on earth fulfilling prophecy.

To Him, it might have seemed like an instant, compared to the immeasurable time that lead up to it.

To us and those we impact with our minor sacrifices of song, sincerity, or other gifts, it makes no difference how they came about, but what our service does for those we affect.

Last night’s karaoke would’ve been less fun without Randy.

I introduced myself.

He knows his gift and didn’t hide it under a basket.

For him that would’ve almost been a sin.

Gifts we have from God, like communicating through a blog, or singing to make others happy, are more than just a hobby when one has been called from above.

They’re both a test and a ladder.

We pass the test when we impart the Truth or talents given us, without expecting anything in return.

We climb the ladder, by letting the world know what He has done for us.

If we cover up, we stay stagnant.

Each time we give, we get a bit closer to God, getting a better look at the smile on His face.

And that…makes it all worth it.

Cries for Help from the Hysteria Highway

July 24, 2011

My phone rang the other morning at 7:20 am eastern time.

It’s really not that early, unless of course, one is on the west coast where it’s 4:20 am.

After a few tears and panicked exchanges, I was able to fire up my computer and locate the lost mini-van in time for our number three kid to make the Amtrak to Baltimore.

He’s off to a week of conservative study (my apprentice) and I’m still trying to figure out how wives can cry, drive, yell, put on lip gloss and talk into the cell phone at the same time.

As I zeroed in on the electronic god of the lost, Google Maps, I could not help but think about our heavenly connection.

Holiness and Truth is always high above, with a complete bird’s-eye view of our lives.

When we call on God for aid and the Body of Christ to pray, it’s really not much good if we don’t slow down in our emotions and listen.

Crying out works to a degree, but the still small voice of the Lord saying…

Don’t drive over the river, because the train station is not in Albany proper, but Rensselaer, east of the Hudson

…is essential to finding fulfillment.

When I asked where they were exactly, I got stores for landmarks.

Put the boy on please.

Street names son, not stores…Google Maps is good, but not on a first name basis with every store clerk from Albany to Springfield.

By my calculation, they drove by the train station four times before noticing how close they actually were.

That’s how we are with victory over our sin.

We fall and make mistakes, thinking how far from God we must be.

Then we cry out.

When we do that we have two choices.

We can continue in our hysteria and block out any chance of hearing our saviour speak…

or…

we can get quiet and realize a loving and wise Father always answers the phone.

He’s not offended when we blame Him either, He is patient and just wants to help us find Truth.

Lord I’m lost!

That may be, but I never am…just give Me a call.

Captain America Review (I Don’t Like Bullies)

July 23, 2011

I haven’t seen all the Marvel Comic movies.

This is one I couldn’t resist.

To me, Captain America will always be a Saturday morning cartoon from the 60’s I loved to watch.

I remember Marvel had a program that would rotate its super heroes every cartoon day.

Whenever it was Captain America’s turn, I was always happiest.

The animation was so simple, it was almost like a Power Point Presentation, with emphatically interjected words like KLANG and THWAK, after every touche’ or punch.

Even if you’ve never seen the oldie version, like the young friends I saw it with last night, you won’t be left behind.

It’s a simple story of the most scrawny man in America finding strength through virtue and good timing.

What really happens is a greater power finds him.

As far as evil is concerned in the movie, it starts out bad, then, once revealed, gets worse.

Many times, we look at evil dabbling in our personal lives as “just a little bit bad.”

The fact is, it’s often far more debilitating than we’re able to see, especially from a human, self-evaluation perspective.

As the villain in Captain America removes his mask, the darkest secrets about him become clear.

As weak Steve Rogers lays down his life, jumping on a grenade while still at boot camp, his deep seeded courage elevates him to the status of young a King David type.

He’s chosen for a scientific anointing and the rest, including the death of a Nazi-Goliath, is “Marvel-ous” history.

God’s plan for His chosen people is similar.

He examines the world daily, looking for those He can promote, even amongst the dregs.

He then watches them (us), do battle with evil for His kingdom, saving most of our rewards for the very end.

Sounding too altruistic for you?

Check this out from Matthew 13:

Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds.
“The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man
who sowed good seed in his field.
While everyone was asleep his enemy came
and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.  When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.  The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field?  Where have the weeds come from?’
He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’
His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds
you might uproot the wheat along with them.
Let them grow together until harvest;
then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters,
“First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”

I guess we can succeed anywhere, even amongst the weeds.

My favorite line from the movie is when the good Professor asks him if he wants to kill Nazis?

His answer?

I don’t want to kill anyone…I just don’t like bullies.

Now, who could disagree with that kind of hero?

Especially one that goes on to kill bullies.

As far as the PG-13 rating is concerned, I’d not fear it.

If my own kids were interested in seeing it, (they’re all grown up now) even if they were a 8 or 9, I’d be O.K. with that.

Why wouldn’t we want our kids to see the CGI version of a TWHAK?

The Promise For Being Obedient

July 22, 2011

God is smart.

No one I know likes the idea of their relatives, especially children or grandchildren, living a life of public shame and humiliation.

I frequent a particular barber shop in the area.

The barber attracts friends who hang around, much like the boys who frequented Floyd’s Barber Shop in Mayberry.

In a recent visit to my Floyd’s, one friend was bemoaning how his son was getting more charges brought up against him.

My barber, astonished, said to the friend.

Inside?

If you don’t know what that means, ask a Deputy Sheriff…especially one who works at a jail.

Just minutes before God presented the 10 Commandments to Moses, in Exodus 20, he made this promise…

For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God,
inflicting punishment for their fathers’ wickedness
on the children of those who hate me,
down to the third and fourth generation;
but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation
on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.

I have no way of knowing why my barber’s friend’s son is doing so poorly in life.

That is between him and God.

What I do know, is that I want to claim the promise of my descendents being bestowed mercy down to the thousandth generation.

When my youngest son toasted my oldest son at his wedding, in part of the speech he said the following…

The world needs more Masserys.

I liked that.

With a God as great as the One we serve, may their lives be as fulfilled as their ancestors.

That’s a promise.