Why the title?

"Pioneers take the arrows"

Oh, wait. I should be upbeat and taking arrows doesn't sound like an upbeat thing to say.

So, let me amend that statement.

It was courage and vision that led the pioneers to leave behind a comfortable, settled life and trek West to begin a new life in a new place. Many of those from the East that went West found a strength within themselves that they didn't see while they were in their old life. Instead of being one of those that just kind of went along with the others in the old life, they became leaders and visionaries in their new lives.

The sentiments of that last paragraph come from a favorite author, Louis L'Amour, in many of his books. So, I can't really say that it is an original thought from me. However, what he said is truthful.

Welcome to being a pioneer. Look ahead and ignore the "barking dogs" that give you negative opinions and comments. Louis L'Amour also spoke of the barking dogs.

In some of his stories, it was usually a father or older man telling a young boy how it was that when the Westward bound Conestoga wagons rolled through towns, the dogs came out to bark at them. His character then told the young listener that the barking didn't stop the wagons from going on to their destinations.

Following the advice of the Louis L'Amour characters, may we all forge ahead with our plans, after carefully considering all consequences and leave the "barkers" behind.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Time for More Paintings

I was on one of the RV forums today, looking at an upgrade that someone had done with changing out the regular curtains for their RV for another, which looks to be a set of shades instead of curtains. They reminded me of the old timey shades that used to be in homes that rolled up on a roller at the top when retracted. In fact, I think these shades are very much like those old shades.

Anyway, in one of the photos that the original poster had put on the forum, they had a picture (or painting) on the wall of their coach. Seeing that painting/picture reminded me that I haven’t posted any pictures of Mother’s paintings in a while. So, I decided to take a break from The Truth Project and post some more pictures of paintings. Then, perhaps in a post this week, I’ll post some more of my photos.

Let’s start out with Richard’s nemesis, being a painting with critters in it. It is also a western theme. And yes, I “resemble” the critters.


On the subject of “western” themes, the next painting takes us to the Pacific Northwest, being somewhere in Northern California, Oregon, or Washington.


This next one is what I would refer to as an “earlier” painting because it doesn’t show the detail that Mother preferred in later works. Since the “mountain” in the painting doesn’t appear to be very tall, it could almost be located anywhere.


If you have read earlier posts regarding Mother’s paintings, you know that she was not good with drawing figures of either animals or people. An early picture of a couple out gathering wood shows the figures with their coat’s collars pulled up in such a way as to not be able to see anything of their faces. This painting, like an earlier painting of a Conquistador is definitely a departure from her normal paintings.


This one is a favorite because it is of a scene with fall colors. I even have a few photographs, which may or may not be shared here, with fall scenes.


And, in a way to further nibble at Richard’s nemesis, here is another painting with critters. If the reader remembers earlier posts, Mother had to trace images of critters and people onto tracing paper, and then transfer them again by tracing onto her canvas. While it was not her favorite thing to do, she would see an element of an image (such as geese) and feel that a work in progress or one planned really needed that element that she couldn’t draw. Thus, she would spend quite a bit of time tracing two different times.


Just to finish out the post, one of my photos taken at Natural Falls State Park in NE Oklahoma in 2008.  While this is NOT one of my favored photos, it is close to them, so I will share this with you.  Jo and I and our youngest son, Eric had taken a 2-day trip from OKC up to the Springdale, Arkansas area to look at a Mobile Suite model and then on south on one of the Arkansas highways to Mena.

Then, the second day, we drove across what is called the Talimena Drive, which is between Mena, Arkansas and Talihina, Oklahoma.  The road pretty much stays up in the higher elevations, so there were lots of places to stop and take photos.  Sadly, though, the second day’s lighting conditions weren’t so great.

So, while I won’t use this posting to talk about God and humanity, I will let his creation speak for him instead.


Friday, August 26, 2011

The Relationship of God and the State

After a night when I was distracted by other things, namely getting our Direct TV set up again, tonight I went again to The Truth Project for yet another lesson. This lesson may create some lively discussions were we all be able to sit and discuss the ramifications of government, and whether or not God has anything to do with a system of governing.

Daniel 4: 29 – 36 gives an insight in the story of King Nebuchadnezzar when he had his moment of grandeur. He stated, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built for the royal dwelling-place, by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?” Yet, while the words were still on his lips, God admonished him and withdrew His authority as a king and was sent into the wilderness to live as an animal and eat grass like cattle.

It would appear obvious then that God does have all authority with governments. Even in the New Testament, when Jesus spoke of “rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s,” it was evident that mankind is to be subject to whatever form of government there is in that time and place. Romans 13: 1 - 6 gives a pretty good understanding of how we are to be subjective to government.

Thus, we have another divine imprint in that God is the head, the kings (government) are the “middle man” and citizens make up the lower level of hierarchy. Again, in the social system God has created, government then is of God, and citizens are directly related to both God and the government.

Social System Circle Government

When considering government within this framework, it must be kept in mind that all will be fine as long as the government keeps God in the picture. Should government, whether in the form of a democratic style method or a monarchy, lose its acceptance of God as the head, then government becomes malevolent and bad things happen.

By the same token, if the citizens begin to lose their acceptance of God as supreme, then they will likely turn to the state for more and more to be provided by the state. What has history shown us when “leaders” fall from God and citizens cannot or will not persuade those leaders to remember God?

Joseph Stalin 42,672,000

Mao Zedong 37,828,000

Adolph Hitler 20,946,000

Chiang Kai-shek 10,214,000

Vladimir Lenin 4,017,000

Hideki Tojo 3,990,000

Pol Pot 2,397,000

All of the above done in the 20th Century, making it probably the most bloody century of all time. Sadly, even the United States bears responsibility for a lot of that bloodshed, for through the practice of abortion, more than 50,000,000 babies have been murdered. Our government, in the form of judges ruled for a woman’s “right to privacy” and allowed them to do as they wished with their bodies, ignoring the consequences for the innocent.

Before arguing that a fetus is only considered as an “unviable mass of tissue,” keep in mind it is God who will decide that issue and likely condemn those who believe that destruction of an unviable mass of tissue is not murder.

History has also given us another example of what has happened to previous governments. There were five attributes that marked Rome at its end.

1.  A mounting love of show and luxury

2.  An obsession with sex, including homosexuality

3.  Freakishness in the arts, masquerading as originality

4.  Enthusiasms pretending to be creativity

5.  An increased desire to live off of the state.

I shudder when considering that all of those attributes are prevalent in a number of countries today, including the United States. It isn’t a surprise when you consider that so many today try to alienate God from all forms of government, using the excuse of “separation of church and state” as a reason for their efforts. Yet those people ignore the actual reading of and understanding of the language of the First Amendment.

It also explains why so many try to belittle those who are believers of God and the teachings of Christ. However, there is still hope because I firmly believe that the God loving people of America will prevail. I won’t touch on it in detail here as it is upcoming in the next episode of The Truth Project, but there is the argument that America was founded upon the belief in God and the desire to further his kingdom, and that the Constitution is but an instrument to try to prevent usurping God.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Unio Mystica or The Mystical Union?

If you have begun reading my blog postings with this entry, I urge you to go to the entry just prior to this one. To some degree, this entry is a continuation of the one prior, and it would be beneficial to read about the “social order” that God has created.

Let me start with a scripture or two. First of all, here is John 14: 19-20:

19 Yet a little while, and the world beholdeth me no more; but ye behold me: because I live, ye shall live also.

20 In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

Having quoted Jesus in this passage, I now want to go back a few verses to John 14: 16-17:

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever, 17 even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive; for it beholdeth him not, neither knoweth him: ye know him; for he abideth with you, and shall be in you.

Here, in these scriptures are the promise of a Comforter, the Holy Spirit, that will abide with us and be IN us. Suddenly, we now have another perspective on God’s social order and how we fit into the picture. There is first the image of the relationship between the Father, the Son, and mankind.

Social System Circle All as One

In this diagram, we see that mankind, and specifically Christians, have a whole new relationship with God. It shows that we are “proceeding” from both the Father and the Son. In addition, Christ has promised us the Holy Spirit to dwell within us and be a part of us. So, if we are “one” with the Holy Spirit, then we must also be “one” with the Father and the Son.

Linked Social System

However, there are serious consequences with this relationship. Jesus has warned of those, specifically the Sadducees and Pharisees, who wished to receive the notice of men when they prayed or gave alms. He spoke of the religious leaders of the day “making their Phylacteries wide and their Tassels long” so as to be noticed by others. Phylacteries were small boxes with scripture within them that the faithful tied to their foreheads as a symbolism of having God’s word in the forefront of their minds.

Matthew 6, verses 1 through 4 give us this message as to how we are to conduct ourselves:

1 Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them: else ye have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.

2 When therefore thou doest alms, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have received their reward.

3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:  4 that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee.

In a previous entry, I wrote about why the world has (and still does) despised both the Jews and the Christians. I believe that the world does not like the idea of there being any “exclusivity” to any religion. Yet, the Bible tells us that there is no other way to Heaven except through Jesus Christ.

While we can take comfort in the knowledge that we have a close personal relationship with God, we must not flaunt any feelings we have around men. When I was growing up, there were members of the church of Christ that believed that if one wasn’t a member of that church, one was destined for Hell. However, I don’t hold with that philosophy simply because I am not God.

Far be it for me to try to say that someone does not have salvation, as I have no idea as to the manner those people live their lives. They may very well be living their lives better and closer to God than I am. The last thing I will say on the matter is that Christ stated that the way to salvation was through him, and there aren’t many other religions that can profess their closeness to God in the social order that He has created.

Forgive me, but there is so much more within the lessons of The Truth Project than what I’ve posted in my entries. I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the scriptural passages and logical thinking involved with coming to the conclusions that are made in these entries.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Divine Imprint

Once again, I viewed another episode of The Truth Project, and it is one that starts to put goose bumps upon me, but it also at one point is such a downer that tears ALWAYS comes to my eyes when I view this lesson.

It begins with the understanding that God has created so many systems; our skeletal system, our circulatory system to carry blood throughout our bodies, our solar system, photosynthesis, wherein plants convert sunlight, and then there is the social order which is based upon God himself.

For those who might not be religious, God is to be considered as a Triunity. Many use the word “Trinity” instead, but I prefer “Triunity” because it better conveys the idea that God is three “persons” but one “essence.” Those “persons” of the “Triunity” are God (the Father), Christ (the Son), and the Holy Spirit. Throughout the Bible, all of those “persons” are involved, many times directly with humans.

Thus, in addition to there being a social order “within God” of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, mankind also has a place in the social order, although much of it is as a creation upon the earth. God’s social order is made up of Him as the Father, Christ (the Son) out of God but still a part of God and submissive to Him, and the Holy Spirit that is out of both God (the Father) and Christ (the Son).

Oddly enough, this “threesome” is also evident in the world as well. There are three primary colors, three forms of matter (being solid, liquid, and gas), the atom is made up of three parts (being the nucleus, electrons, and protons), and there are three “realms” (being spiritual, physical, and social.)

The social realm, or order, is the primary focus of this posting. I should begin with an image of the Triunity of God, showing the relationships between the three parts of God.

Social System Circle Triunity

Note that the Holy Spirit has a relationship, as defined by the lines, with both God (the Father) and Christ (the Son.) It is almost an example of one “entity” being subject to each of the others. Also of importance is the knowledge that God and Christ are also “One” with each other. John 17: 21-22 is the period of time when Jesus was praying to God before his trial and crucifixion, and He mentioned the fact that He and God were one:

21 that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me.

22 And the glory which thou hast given me I have given unto them; that they may be one, even as we are one;

Verse 21 starts out talking about Christ’s disciples as those referred to as “they.” Believe it or not, that will come into play at a later date.

But, God’s social order is reflected in the family. For in the family, we have the husband, the wife, and the children. Is this image not eerily like the first image, the one showing God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit?

Social System Circle Family

Note that this order also has a “father” head in the form of the husband, the wife who is submissive to the husband, and the children who are “out from” both the husband and the wife and have a relationship with both. And, the Bible speaks of man taking woman, cleaving to her and becoming “one” just like God and Christ being “one.”

In each order, God and the Husband love the others within their respective social orders and the other entities are submissive to and respect the “head” of the social order. The Bible speaks of the husband being the “Head” over the wife just as Christ is the “Head” over the church. So, it is not a negative thing for Christ or a wife, being submissive to the “head” in each social order.

Speaking of the church, that social order is much the same, with Christ being the “head” and the church leaders being the “wife/bride” and the “flock” being the membership of the church, making up the children of God. Again, this image shows the similarity of those three elements of the church. The leaders of the church are in a sense “one” with Christ because they are accountable to God for the beliefs and worship performed by the “children of God.”

Social System Circle Church

All of this is a reflection that God is a God of order. All of creation has an order of some kind; either within a social order, a scientific order, or a spiritual order, and sometimes in more than one order at a time. After all, do the planets of our solar system just run around space willy-nilly? Does there not appear to be an “order” to the fact that it requires a man and a woman to produce a child?

Even today, there are those in society that hate God’s order and actively attempt to disrupt that order in every way possible, even to the point of the destruction of people themselves. For this reason, mankind should be devoted to the idea that the family and the church are institutions in need of strengthening from those who are members of those two social orders.

Marriages that end in divorce because the couple didn’t really have a commitment to each other, and to their families, are an abomination because of the pain it inflicts on God and on each member of that family.

Commitment to God and to the family is essential. Let us all do our best to strengthen our commitments.

Christ and Circle

Monday, August 22, 2011

Reaffirming Beliefs

The last two evenings, I’ve again watched episodes of The Truth Project. Last night, I watched two episodes making up one lesson that was in regards to science. This evening, the lesson was about history.

In the episodes about science, the lessons examined the statements of Darwin himself about his theory of evolution, The Origin of the Species. They went on to explain that there has never been evidence presented that confirmed evolution. In fact, evidence was presented that showed that Darwin’s own statements spoke of what would possibly destroy his theory.

One was the examination of the basis of the cell and how its structure and processes are evidence not of chance, but of intelligent design. The series showed computer animation of those processes and to watch them was to learn that there is no way that “chance” had a factor in them.

Darwin also mentioned that if there was no discovery of “transitional” creature’s fossil remains, then his theory would break down. He defended his theory at the time (1859) that no fossil remains had been found because there just hadn’t been enough time to find those remains. Yet, scientists today are saying that there are still no fossil remains, and any attempts to present a “creature” as a transitional one has been proven to be hoaxes. Piltdown Man is one of those.

The lessons also touched upon what the elements of science are; that they are first a hypothesis, then a theory, and then after much experimentation and proof, there is the scientific law. Yet proponents of evolution, primarily humanists, speak of Darwin’s theory as “fact” and are afraid to use the much stronger word of “law” of science. This is believed to be so because they are unable to prove their own theories.

To be honest, the above 4 paragraphs cannot even begin to touch on all of the points brought out in that two hours of The Truth Project’s discussion of science. And, my memory is not good enough to fill in the blanks. It is a hope of mine that at some time, I will be able to share this video series with others, perhaps in the form of a study of biblical subjects and proving that the Bible is correct.

This evening’s lesson on history touched upon the danger we face today with those who would revise our history in a way to leave out God. An example is in the document of The Mayflower Charter. The series showed that modern texts in schools show the beginning words of that charter, but leave out all the references as to how the settlement of America was to be for the glory of God.

The lesson showed how it is that if “historians” leave out pertinent information, then our descendants will lack the true perspective of history, thus rewriting history for the future. As an example, the president of Iran has said numerous times that the Holocaust never happened. While many of us today could very well travel to those terrible camps and actually see where human beings clawed at the concrete and stone walls while being exterminated, the youth of Iran and other Muslim nations may very well believe that it was a hoax.

Thus, generations to come could very well grow up with a wrong understanding of history. This is not a new phenomenon. One can go back to the Garden of Eden to find an example of “historical revisionism” that is put forth by Satan. From Genesis 3: 4-5:

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

5 for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.”

After Christ was released from the tomb, the soldiers left to guard it went to the Hebrew priests and told their story. But the priests paid them off and told them to tell others that Christ’s disciples carried him away in the night while the guards slept.

To this day, I suspect that the lies purposely proposed by those early priests are probably uttered today. Why else would it be that the Jewish religion does not recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah?

While I did not view the exchange on MSNBC with Chris Matthews, I read about it later. In that exchange of dialogue between Chris Matthews and the chairman of the Republican Party, Matthews wanted to know whether anyone on the right could have a meaningful and intelligent discussion about evolution, and he asked the Republican Party chairman whether any of the Republican candidates could even discuss such a thing. Sadly, the chairman of the Republican Party had nothing to say and rightfully so, as I doubt if he really knows the beliefs of all the candidates.

However, Matthews is one of those that constantly bring up topics in which he falsely accuses conservatives and Republicans. Another who has been devious was a fellow MSNBC host by the name of Ed Shultz. Shultz took an audio clip of Rick Perry talking about that “big, black cloud; that debt hanging over America” and cut it off after the words “big, black cloud” and presented it as Rick Perry being racist.

Fortunately, his audio editing skills are so terrible that he was called out about it and he had to issue a retraction, but he merely called it a “mistake” instead of saying that it was intentionally done so as to cast Rick Perry as a racist.

We all must be cautious of what we hear and read. There are those today who are actively engaged in historical revisionism. That is why it has been said that history may not be truly accurate until future historians who did not live in these times actually look at what was said and done and report it factually and without bias.

We must also be careful to observe and see for ourselves what it is that the biased media and politicians DON’T say. Has anyone heard of the media talking about Obama’s calling for the ousting of the Libyan leader? (Sorry, I don’t know the correct spelling for that leader’s name.)

If the media has been so blatant in their criticism of Republicans and their actions in being involved with wars and overthrowing despotic leaders, why are they ignoring Obama’s actions? To me, they are trying to write history as they go along.

Wrestling with reality.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Gazing Upon the Face of God

This evening, I watched more of The Truth Project. In the first hour (lesson 3) the study was about “Who is Man.” Watching that episode can leave one in a dejected state, especially when one considers the EVIL that man seems to perpetuate.

In year after year, decade after decade, century after century, mankind continues to do the same terrible things, in spite of the humanists of this age that want to tell us that man is “basically good” and that there are not any real evil things about man.

At the end of each episode of The Truth Project is a summary of that lesson and then a little bit of video from the next episode that serves as a tease. At the end of the dejecting episode 3, the tease for episode 4 informs us that the upcoming episode is going to ask the question, “Who is God.”

With the need for something uplifting before going to bed, I decided to watch episode 4 as well. In different places in the series, the moderator/instructor teases with the thought that in this series of lessons, we will have the opportunity, as much as God will allow us, to gaze upon the face of our Creator and God.

Of course, God has revealed Himself to us in his Word, in that the Bible has showed us what He is like and that He sent His Son to this earth to serve as our means of hope for salvation. It is up to us to look for Him and that hope. We live in the knowledge that we are made in his image, not in the physical sense, but in the spiritual sense. God is Spirit and our existence is part spiritual. Why else would peoples who have never been approached by missionaries seek to find gods?

It is in man’s nature to want to find God. Even though the Communist countries severely persecute those who wish to express a religion based upon God, the peoples of those countries risk torture and death go find God. If you have read back in earlier posts, I told the story of the Eastern European Mission ministry that started out as smugglers of Bibles into the Soviet Bloc countries.

Should you be interested in that story, it was way back in March, and here is a link to that posting:


Anyway, looking for God is really easy. At the moment, I can’t remember the scriptures by book and verse, but the Bible speaks of the heavens declaring the glory of God and that all of creation reflects His glory. As a photographer, I have been blessed in that I can usually see God every day in something of his creations.

That evidence may be the smile of a child, a wide panorama of beautiful nature, or just the simple little flower at my feet. Some of the finest examples of beauty and grace are found in the “critter world.”


Ah, such diversity of creatures the earth has. I would venture to guess that each species has a distinct and sometimes unique relationship with other parts of nature. And each and every species of animal or plant displays God’s wonder and beauty.




Did you see the ant? Did you know that God has named all the stars? Don’t you suppose he also has a name for each of the creatures?

I may begin to be more likely to share some photos that I ordinarily wouldn’t due to the concerns of others that might wish to steal my photos for their own benefit.  It would not be the first time someone has “stolen” an image and entered it into a contest with the hope of winning a prize.

But, I should share my prizes, that being my photos, so that others can see the glory of God and not be deprived by my selfishness.  Since I am a work in progress and wanting to be more God-like, I probably should do more sharing.  I guess we shall see if I can succeed.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Danger of Assumptive Language

From the opening clip of a popular series that even today is presented on television, but decades ago was presented in public schools and colleges:

“The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”

Now, from II Timothy 2: 24-26, the Bible gives us as Christians some instruction as to how we should approach those we wish to introduce to God:

“24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”

Basically, it tells us to be gentle and careful in presenting a concept that is perhaps totally different than out acquaintance’s beliefs. But, another scriptural reference is directed at us, the Christians, to be careful of “gentle presentations of concepts” different from ours.

Colossians 2:8 reads: “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”

The power and danger of assumptive language leads to a dangerous form of knowledge. Assumptions are received and believed without an open, conscious dialogue and if one accepts a statement, one accepts its assumptions as well.

In honesty, a lot of what you read above is almost directly from Chapter Two of The Truth Project. I cannot claim any of this as original thought on my own. But, we as humans readily accept ideas and use them later, many times without giving credit to our sources. Again in honesty, I must state that some of us may have issues with even remembering the original sources.

In our day, we see the reporting of different polls that have been taken. While they serve to give us an idea of the percentages of those polled who believe a particular concept, they also lead us down a dangerous path. We tend to search for a truth in regards to a moral or ethical belief.

One must be careful with that search for truth, and we must know the difference between morals and ethics. As R. C. Sproul explained in The Truth Project, morals are those beliefs that are “normal” as based upon how a society or culture conducts themselves. In America, a large number of people accept abortion as normal. Thus, it becomes “moral” because it is accepted because of what that situation “is.” By contrast, ethics looks at the same given situation with an eye towards discerning what “ought” to be, not what that situation “is.”

Therefore, polls are sometimes conducted with the intent of determining what is normal, not what ought to be. If we accept that “the majority” believes in abortion, it becomes normal, but not ethical. What is normal can be determined by might, either in one’s physical strength, one’s weapons, or even, what 51% believe.

Now, going back to Colossians, we are warned against being taken captive by philosophy, empty deception, traditions, and the “principles” of the world. That takes me back to the quote from the series, Cosmos.

That statement that the Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or will ever be is a good example of assumptive language. By making that statement, Carl Sagan was basically telling Americans and others that “there is no God.” As a humanist, he knew that if he were to make the statement in his opening dialogue that God did not exist, his series would never have been accepted. That is because at that time, there was a lot higher percentage of Americans (and other country’s citizens) that held religious beliefs.

We, as intelligent individuals, must be careful that what we hear is truth. With so many false messages from the news media, the liberal entertainment world, and even our schools and colleges, it makes it even more essential that we not accept a statement as a fact.

Thomas Jefferson gave us a quote that fits this topic. He said: “Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”

I have long believed that when God created the world, He very well could have created man so as to blindly worship Him as He wished. However, He created man to have the ability to reason and to choose to worship Him freely and without force. Wouldn’t we all rather be surrounded by people who wanted to be with us, rather than have to be with us? We are made in God’s image, so it is not surprising that we feel that way.

So, in being careful as to believing what we see and hear, we are also to conduct ourselves so that others have the same opportunity to question what they hear. That is why gentleness and reason will have better results in seeking to further God’s kingdom than browbeating our subjects. And our caution in what we believe will prompt us to present God and His salvation to others in a way where they have the fuller understanding of what is offered.

Holding a Child

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Importance of Truth

I have again begun to watch the video series from Focus on the Family that is called “The Truth Project.” If you ever get the chance to view this 13 hour series of lessons, it is likely that your beliefs will be transformed. Each time that I view it, I learn something new and for this reason, I make this posting with a haunting question:

“Do you really believe that what you believe is really real? “

When Jesus stood before Pilate, he informed Pilate that He was a King and that he was born into this world to testify to the Truth. Pilate’s reaction was more of a sarcastic return with the question, “What is Truth?”

The Bible teaches to the Truth in many areas, many of which are not even considered by many today. In the New Testament, Jesus uses the phrase “I tell you the truth” over 75 times. In the book of John alone, he uses the double emphatic “Truly, truly” 25 times.

In John 1: 17, the Bible says, “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.”

John 14: 6 says, “Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

In John 17: 17, this is stated, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.

John 4: 24 tells us of worship: “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

John 8: 31-32 states, “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

John 14: 16-17 then makes a promise from Jesus towards Truth: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”

And John 16: 13 states: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

After all the above scriptures, do you suppose that God might think that Truth is important?

But, how does man react to Truth?

II Timothy 4: 3-4 brings a point up that has a chilling perspective: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

Romans 1: 18-19 even speaks to man’s active role against the truth: “18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

Acts 20: 29-30 carries man’s evil further by distorting the Truth: “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.”

More from Romans, in chapter 2 and verses 7 and 8, the Bible speaks to man actively rejecting truth and following evil: “to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.

And finally, Romans 1: 25 give us this: “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”

It is not enough to believe what we hear from man….unless what man says is verified by the Bible. The Bible speaks of false prophets and teachers and that we are to be cautious of them. God’s truth is what is important.

As for the truth of the philosophies of mankind, especially in the sense of faith, we must be very cautious. Mankind is full of those that will speak of faith, and political philosophy, in a way that is not seeking truth, but trying to convince us with lies. Politicians and the news media are prime examples of those that would deceive us.

It is important for us to search for the truth by constantly questioning what we hear and read. Politics should be questioned with the goal of finding results and not believing rhetoric. Seeking for religious truth must be done with the Bible. Let us be certain that our beliefs and actions are based on truths that are fully confirmed with ALL of the Bible.

Open Door Policy

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Walk With Me As I Age

I received this today, and it was so beautiful that I had to share it with all my friends.  I’ve already sent it to my favorites in my e-mail address book, but I have other friends I wanted to share it with as well.  They, of course, are my readers.

May this bless you as much as it did me.

Walk with me by the water, worth the read ...


Walk With Me As I Age




Crud ....
I forgot the words .....

Saturday, August 13, 2011

What….More Art???

Can’t this guy do something more interesting, like, politics or religion? Yeesh!!


Art is a reflection of creation, thus a direct link to God, at least in my view. So, today I will share a few more photos of some of Mother’s paintings. (And, perhaps a Terry photo or two as well.)

I kind of want to do that because I’ve just had a comment from a new reader that liked the artistic things in life. So as to not disappoint him completely, he will get to see a bit of both painting and photography as art. I also recommend that he check out Richard Secor’s (RVPAINTER on the forums) blog, found at this link:


Now, Richard is unashamedly trying to market his paintings in a way that would be attractive to those in RV’s and suffering with a lack of space for paintings otherwise. He even has another blog devoted just to raking in the cash. It is found at this link:


Now, in that line, I hope to someday be able to sell some of my photos, most of which have not been seen online, especially those that I would call the best. I thought I had a secure way to share them without someone being able to “steal” them by “right-click/save as” with the mouse. But, alas, while the individual photos were protected from that, there was another way of viewing them where one could steal the photos. So, the better ones were taken off and until I get a secure spot on Smugmug, they will remain off-line.

So, let’s get right to Mother’s paintings. For the new readers, more can be read about my mother (and other family members) by going back to the beginning of this blog (meaning January) to find out about my roots. Anyway, Mother was a self-taught artist working with oil painting on canvas boards and stretched canvas.

Following what must have been a very rough year weather-wise, this painting depicts such western icons as a barbed wire fence with broken strands and a busted up windmill. (In the Panhandle where I grew up, we used to say that the only thing between us and the North Pole was a 4 wire fence and three strands of that were broken. But, I shouldn’t talk about winter. Richard doesn’t like winter.)


Autumn is another season, but one that I dearly love. I’m hoping that our late vacation this year will give me the opportunity to photograph Colorado in its finest glory. Until then, here is one of Mother’s works.


Here is a little more western motif, but with something that Richard doesn’t like in his paintings….critters. Even when I find them when he didn’t know he painted them. (See an earlier blog of mine.)


While we didn’t get to spend a lot of time near the oceans, Mother did have a love for the rugged coastlines, especially of Northern California and Oregon. The source of most of her paintings was from images found in magazines and calendars. Rugged is probably why I love the Rocky Mountains so much.


Then, to finish up with her paintings for this blog posting, here is one of her “monochrome” paintings, meaning she used fewer colors than normal. Oh, and it has a critter!!!


For the benefit of new readers, I have been working on a book with some of my photos in them, and since so much of what I take photos of are creations of God, there will be some with commentary as to how a particular photo relates to God’s willingness to share with us all. As a favored quote from Ansel Adams goes, "Sometimes I arrive just when God's ready to have someone click the shutter."

For instance, this photo is of a Mimosa tree’s blossoms. I was always under the impression that Mimosas tended to not bloom for several years. But, here was one in our front yard, less than three years old and already putting on blossoms. Since it was young, it had (and has) not fully formed, so there is this one measly little branch reaching to the sky as if to say, “Look, God. I’m reflecting your beauty.” This one may yet make the book.


Normally, I don’t take many photos of people, and when I do, I seldom share them as I usually don’t get signed waivers from the subjects. But, in this case I will differ from normal. While vacationing near Pagosa Springs in 2009, a family was camped right next to us. Mom, Dad and one little boy had come to Colorado so Dad could go Elk hunting. One morning, because of a chill in the air, the little boy was dressed more for cold winter.

I’m sorry, he was a delightful little boy but, doesn’t he look like a Jalapeno pepper?


OK.  With that piece of crud comment, I should hang it up and go to bed.  Tomorrow is Sunday and church day.  Maybe I’ll get a better attitude.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Painting the Flag

Apparently, this is a painting called “Hero” and was done by Michael Israel in New York while on stage. I am posting this video so that Richard in Santa Fe can view it. Richard’s paintings are also done in quick fashion, although this guy may be a bit faster and with a bigger canvas.

I was impressed with his style and ability. Plus, he is helping the local hardware store markets, if for nothing more than for drop clothes.


Painting The Flag

Vacation Is Set….In Jell-O

Well, sort of half and half.

Eric got the promotion at his work, although it is more of a lateral move pay-wise, and now gets to work in an area more that deals with the hardware itself (the company’s servers) than with the customer service area. He was told to go ahead and put his vacation request in and that it “should” get approved if it is later on.

So, instead of going to Mountaindale RV Park near Colorado Springs the last of this month, we will arrive there on October 8 and leave on October 14. We’ve never been in Colorado that late in the year, so I got online and found a forum posting where one can find the average temperatures for certain cities. I looked up October for Colorado Springs and it shows an average high of roughly 62 degrees and average lows in the upper 30’s and lower 40’s. Also, they average 3 inches of snow in October.

We may be arriving there too late, but I’m hoping for some good, autumn colors, especially with the Aspens. I was looking at some photos on a favored photo website and the ones that I looked at showed to have been taken in September. So, I guess we’ll wait and see.

We will definitely be getting out the heavier coats for this trip. If you looked at some of the mountain photos in earlier posts, in one with a tent set up, you can see Jo in a pretty heavy coat. That photo was taken in late August, so higher altitudes and later in the year is going to be interesting.

Now, let me mention the “Jell-O” portion of the trip. We’ve put in for two weeks in a row at that time because the Suites Owners International Travel Club’s Central Region rally is being held in Grove, Oklahoma from October 18 through October 23. We attended the October rally last year near Carthage, MO and had a good time, so we really want to make this one as well.

The “Jell-O” part is whether the Colorado vacation part will be expensive enough that we don’t feel we can afford to do the SOITC rally part of the two weeks. We probably won’t know the answer to that question until we actually start back from Colorado. But, I really have my hopes up to be able to go. Those, like so many other RV’ers are some really nice folks.

I won’t post pictures of people without their permissions, so the best I can do is post a few pictures of the Rally area, including a couple of pictures taken in the Joplin area. The rally was held at the Coachlight RV Park, which is south of Carthage, MO.

We were first surprised to see a device designed specifically for campfires. Someone had taken the base from one of those patio fire pits and put a stainless steel washing machine tub inside of it. That is where our campfires were built for the time of the rally. There was very little escaping the tub in the way of sparks and embers, and once the embers are cooled, it was easier to empty. A little scrubbing inside and the stainless steel was bright and shiny again, and ready for use.


A member’s RV.  The white flag has the SOITC logo on it.


The row we were a part of.  There were something like 19 units in the RV park, two rows of which were nothing but Suites models.


Our rig…first ever outing with it, received in May…first used in October.


While the sites were a little closer than I like, for a rally, it wasn’t too bad.  We spent most of the time either in the meeting room or at the campfire area.

DSC_7838 DSC_7845

There was a festival of some kind going on in Carthage that weekend, but we didn’t spend a lot of time in Carthage.  I did get a picture of a neat courthouse there.


This is Grand Falls on Shoal Creek, which is located south of Joplin, MO.

DSC_7903  DSC_7885

Not really pretty as it isn’t entirely a natural waterfall.  The following picture was taken of Shoal Creek upriver from the falls and from an old bridge now used as part of a walking trail.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Do I Dare Take Credit?

I probably better not. God might just send thunder and lightning to me special delivery.

So, what is that all about?

Yesterday, in a fit of aggravation over so many days of over 100 degree heat, I posted pictures taken in the mountains in an effort to adjust my “ambient mental temperature” since I couldn’t do anything about the “ambient air temperatures.”

Today, we had a high of 98 degrees and as of 4:30pm it is currently 82 degrees outside. That is only 4 degrees higher than our low for the day. All I can say is it is a good thing that I didn’t post pictures with snow in them. We are even getting occasional light rain showers, and had I posted photos of snow, we might be experiencing a blizzard.

As nice as it has been today, they are still forecasting some of our days ahead as being up over 100 again. So, for self-defense, I better post some more mountain photos for the next few days.

We had originally planned on going to Mountaindale RV Park between Colorado Springs and Canon City the last of this month. However, Eric got a new job at his company and he begins training roughly around the 13th of this month. After he finishes the training, they want him to be on-the-job for a few weeks before going on vacation. So, it looks like it will be sometime in October before we get to go to the mountains.

While it would be a definite respite from the heat, it will also be nice to not leave the heat of Oklahoma and then have one week of Colorado cool before having to come back to Oklahoma heat. We’ve never been in Colorado that late in the year before. I checked an online source for average temperatures for Colorado Springs and October shows an average high in the 60’s with lows in the 30’s and 40’s. It also said that Colorado Springs averages 3 inches of snow in October.

Since I’ve never had photos of the Rockies with a lot of snow on them, this might be a welcome interlude from my normal photos. Speaking of photos, why don’t I shut up and show some of the ones I’ve taken.

First of all, here is Alaska in 2005 on the train ride of the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad.

10 DSCN2794

For a change of pace, but still from the mountains, how about the looks of this handsome fellow?

11 DSC_7039

Up and across Independence Pass of the Continental Divide I found a spot where we were above some snow instead of well below it. Granted, it is a small patch of snow.

12 DSC_7130

Going down the other side of the Divide, we came across this small set of falls of a stream. My brother-in-law, not being a photographer, couldn’t understand why it was that I took 14 different pictures of the same scene. He doesn’t realize the value of zooming in to get a better perspective. See for yourself.

13 DSC_7135   14 DSC_7136

Then one has the odd chance when fortune shines down upon you. While the actual lighting of the area was brighter than this, the perspective picked up by the sensors in my camera gave me this more dramatic scene.

15 DSC_7149

Incidentally, these pictures in Colorado were all taken in July of 2010. While we didn’t get to camp in Colorado, we went to visit the in-laws in Tribune, Kansas and we made a slight little jaunt for about 4 days into the state.

The next day we went through the small town of Hotchkiss, in which used to live two sets of aunts and uncles on my Dad’s side of the family. We then followed Colorado 92 down along the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Part of that canyon was dammed up years ago, and that action created Crystal Lake and Morrow Lake. These photos were of Morrow Lake as it is the closest to the road. (Incidentally, my sister-in-law didn’t care for how close I was getting to the edge of the canyon. At least, not until she found out that I had plenty of insurance.)

16 DSC_7393   17 DSC_7406

I hope you have enjoyed this little photo interlude as much as I have remembered the trips, the beauty of the countryside, and the fellowship of our family.  There will be more to come, although I can’t say for sure when, as what I post is sometimes on a whim.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

OK….I’m Tired of Heat

Granted, it could be worse, but after 43 days this year of being over 100 degrees, I’ve about had enough. Southern Oklahoma is getting it worse than Oklahoma City. One community down near the Red River has had 68 days with the temperatures being over 100 degrees.

So, since I can’t lower the “ambient air temperature,” I’ll try to lower the “ambient mental temperature” by posting a few pictures or so. Of course, to make this all work, all pictures will have to be of areas where it is a lot cooler than here in Oklahoma City. Now, I refuse to take us anywhere that a heavy coat is needed, so you will only need a light jacket instead of a heavy coat.

Anyone who knows much about me at all knows that I have an affinity for the mountains. I don’t go in for skiing, because I have never been convinced that it is a good idea to deliberately throw oneself down off of a mountain. (And, my opinion of skiing and the obvious result of my trying to ski would result in that very event happening.)

It is my preference to go when it is hot in Oklahoma, even though it generally means that I have to leave the cool of the higher altitudes to return to the heat of the plains. Now, if I could just be assured of a good job in Colorado, I’d move to the higher elevations and see if I could suffer through the cold months.

Let’s start our day at roughly 5:30am in Purgatoire River Campground in 2000. The temperature is roughly 55 degrees and I’m returning form the campground outhouse when I see a gorgeous sunrise. I hurry to the truck and get my camera. Incidentally, 2000 is the first year for me with digital cameras, so it is in the truck instead of in the tent.

1 P0001651

The following year of 2001 brought a change for us on our vacations. It was prompted by what this image alludes to.

2 P0001722

You see, it was just Jo and I that year in Purgatoire River Campground and two hunters, who happened to be up on the mountains. When we arrived, we were told of rummaging bears, and with the previous spring having a late frost, there were no berries. Thus, bears were looking for food everywhere, including grocery stores and peoples kitchens.

When we were told that the two hunters would be leaving, we realized that if a bear arrived, we would automatically be “appointed” as camp hosts for the visiting wildlife. So, we left this:

3 P0001714

for better accommodations such as this, with one bedroom and a loft:

4 DCP_0772

We still spent time up in Purgatoire River Campground with hiking and exploring, but we didn’t have to worry about nighttime visitors seeking handouts. This was the first time ever that we vacationed in a cabin of any kind. But, it wasn’t the last. In 2003, we opted for a larger cabin just up the valley from the one above. That is because our youngest son, Eric, was vacationing with us again, and this cabin was a two bedroom

5 DCP_0771

That year, we branched out a bit more than we have in the past. In addition to being in the area of Monument Lake, Stonewall, and Purgatoire River Campground, we also went to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Zapata Falls.

Monument Lake is now referred to by me as “Monumentless Lake” as the boulder, that was sort of a monument within the lake, toppled over and is no more to be seen.

6 DCP_5689

Great Sand Dunes National Park:

7 DCP_5616

Zapata Falls is actually located back inside of a cave.

8 DCP_5565

OK. I chickened out on taking a picture of Zapata Falls itself. You see, one has to walk back into that cave through this mountain stream and that water is really cold. A year or two later, I was to actually do it since we had bought some boots with which to wade the streams and rivers.

We seldom ever go to the area of Stonewall, Purgatoire River Campground, or Cuchara’s Blue and Bear Lakes that we also don’t go up on Apishapa (Stinking Waters) Pass and over to the area of the Spanish Peaks. A short trail up on a ridge lets us look at the west Spanish Peak and out over the Spoon (Cuchara) Valley. Incidentally, we’ve always known it as Apishapa Pass, but it is marked everywhere as Cordova Pass.

9 DCP_5506

The photo has Jo and Eric with our two MinPins, TJ and Lady.