Wisdom and Discernment

Dr. Tim Keller, founder of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC, prolific writer and renowned Theologian – along with his wife Kathy penned a Daily Devotional titled: “God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life.”

Our good friend Jan sent us a copy for a friend and we ordered one for ourselves it was so good. I’ve always had great difficulty making any sense out of Proverbs. The meter and rythym of the writing always seemed odd to me and it’s propensity to leave the door open to different view points seems to me to be different from the rest of the Bible.

Dr. Keller points out in the introduction that Proverbs is difficult for English speaking people to fully grasp because it is written in a style of Hebrew poetry using “parallelism” or using two or more thoughts or phrases to reinforce each other. As a redneck from Between, GA I prefer for my “Books” to simply say what they mean and leave it at that. Dr. Keller points out that unlike the rest of scripture – which is composed of “absolutes” and “commands” Proverbs uses Hebrew Poetry to express thoughts about what life is really about – choices. For example when King Salomon writes about “discernment” in 1:2 he is not speaking of simply having the wisdom to know right from wrong but also to understand the difference between good, better and best. Real discernment/wisdom comes when we can choose from multiple options and discern the impact of those choices.

“God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life” is available on Amazon for $13.52 – about the same as an appetizer in most of Palm Beach Counties restaurants.

I particularly enjoyed The Keller’s perspective on “The Troublemaker” in chapter 6: 12 to 15. Here is the text:

A troublemaker and a villain, who goes about with a corrupt mouth,
who winks maliciously with his eye, signals with his feet
and motions with his fingers, who plots evil with deceit in his heart —
he always stirs up conflict. Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant;
he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.” Proverbs 6: 12 to 15

The Keller’s observe that troublemaker’s “corrupt mouths produce decptive omissions, half truths, and inneundo.” When I read this line my mind immediately thought of the Media age we live in today. Depending on your perspective and political leanings theirs might be an apt description of CNN, MSNBC, NBC, The NY Times and God Forbid even on occasion on my favorite Fox News.

NFL – As Jerry Glanville once said NFL May Stand for Not For Long

NFL – as the old Coach of the Atlanta Falcons Jerry Granville once said to a referee you keep making calls like that one and the NFL will mean “not for long” for you.

Marty, Tony and I decided we will not support in any way a group of super wealthy athletes and owners who disrespect our Nation and support/allow this disrespect to take place in their work place.

We took out our Satellite and dropped our NFL Sunday Ticket. We have not watched an NFL game this year. Thanksgiving might have been a test of our will I thought but between food and devotions and going outside the day was enjoyable and just passed right on by. In our house professional football is already not for long if and until they develop leadership with a spine and do something about this issue.

If you are of like mind you will enjoy this song from a couple of rednecks on Youtube. See site below.


Is it Thanksgiving Already?

Is it just me or is life simply flying by far too fast? How can it be Thanksgiving already!

Again, is it just me or is there someone else out there who is caught up a little short on the time spent ruminating about being “Thankful” much less really being Thankful.

Maybe it’s all the sunshine and warm weather or that my ability to keep up with my schedule isn’t what it used to be. I was actually caught a little off guard today at Church when Pastor Todd started in talking about Thanksgiving this week. Not a couple of weeks from now but this Thursday!

I’m guessing its time for me to turn off the TV and or Computer and spend a little quiet time reflecting on all the Blessings in our lives here in Juno!

Either way I do hope that God will continue to richly bless you and yours with a spirit of calm and peace this Thanksgiving:)


Alexa Echo Plus and Apple’s i8X – Uncle Larry Loves them Both

Just in case you forget my 72nd birthday on the 14th I bought myself two new technology wonders and am happy with them both. Here are my initial thoughts:

Alexa Echo Plus by Amazon – Where has Alexa been all my life? I have never had an entertainment and information device all three of us like as well as Alexa. Though it is a female name when you say it she listens – responds immediately and the range of responses is unbelievable. In short if there is a song or any piece of information anywhere on the internet Alexa will retrieve it for you – and pronto. As amazing as the availability of music and information is – almost equally impressive is the quality of the speaker. The range of the sound for a speaker no taller than 6” and as big around as a soda can is amazing.

Alexa Echo Plus comes with a light bulb that generates different 3 different rings of light on the top depending on her status. How great would it be to find a woman with a multi colored crown that tells you if she’s off – on and ready to receive instruction and or is actively doing something for you:) Then when you are done just say her name and OFF and she is! Amazing!

One last word on Alexa Echo Plus. If you buy one don’t bother to read the instructions. Assuming you have Wifi available at the location where you place Alexa just download the Alexa App on your iPhone and it guides you right through what to do. I made the mistake of trying to set it up using my Mac and that does not work. Download the App on your iPhone and Alexa will be playing music and answering your questions in minutes. Speaking of questions I think Alexa must be the younger sister of Siri. If you are bored just sit around and ask her questions and she is never stumped for an answer. This is bound to become one of America’s favorite drinking games.

Apple iPhone 8X – I just walked into the Verizon Corporate store on PGA and 30 minutes later walked out with Siri in a bigger home. The comments that follow are based on the differences I have seen already between my iPhone 6 and the 8X.

1. The size of the screen significantly increases my ability to read it and use the key board.
2. Siri has really matured since the i6 came out. If you sync it with your contacts there isn’t anything I’ve found yet that she can’t do – and with my tremor that is a real plus. I may be kidding myself but the Siri on the i8 hears me better and gets results quicker.
3. Speaking of hearing you won’t believe the speaker! I automatically put it on max volume and then on my first received call it sounded like they were on speaker phone – when they weren’t. When you put it on speaker phone it is really loud on max volume. I’ve had to turn it down just a touch. Something Marty has been trying to get me to do for years. When listening to music w/o the ear plugs the sound fills up a room. I’d estimate it’s almost twice as loud as my i6.
4. The screen picture quality is much improved – brighter and sharper. Speaking of brighter it has an option that you can choose to activate that automatically dims or raises it’s brightness based on the ambient lighting around you.
5. The battery life could take a Tesla around the block. It’s 3:45 PM as I write this and I’ve used the i8 as much today as before and I still have 91% battery power!
6. All those ios updates I’ve made to my i6 had left it working hard to keep up and the i8 is so much faster.
7. I have only taken one picture so far and it is so much brighter, clearer and sharper than my i6. Verizon encouraged me to go to YouTube and watch the video on all the things the new camera can do – especially in the world of portraits and motion. I’ll get to that later and let you know.
8. Storage – it’s not an issue. I have 650 songs and a bunch of apps and I was always bumping into the 16GB limit on my i6. The base/free storage is 64GB and for a “few dollars more” you can get 250GB. Not even President Trump has that many friends:)
9. Finally, the size and weight has not been an issue. It fits into the front pocket of my pants or shorts just fine.

Well that’s it. If your birthday is this month – or you aren’t sure those who love you the most are going to get you Alexa or Apple’s i8 get out there and treat yourself to these new electronic marvels. After all aren’t you worth it?

Uncle Larry

What is a True and Acceptable Religion?

I frequently hear a question something like this: “If Christianity is real and is a peaceful and forgiving religion then shouldn’t we show mercy to Muslim People and RESPECT their Religion?”

There may be many answers to this question that are deeper than my mind and spirit can know. That said I look to Jesus – The Messiah – The Son of God – The Promised One in the Line of David to define what true religion is.

Amazingly it did not require much research or insights. Marty and I were doing our devotionals today and we read the words of Jesus from a Jew that became known to the Christian world as St. Matthew. In Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 22: Verses 34 to 40 we read:
“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Please read these Words of Jesus again!

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hand on these two commandments.”

Should we show mercy and open our nation and our land to untold numbers of Muslims?

I ask you to consider only one question! In the past 16 years or 16 centuries have the followers of Islam lived their lives according to this law: “To love your neighbor as yourself?”


A Declaration Paid For In Blood

On July 2, 1776 the US Congress voted for Independence from England. It wasn’t, however, until two days later that Washington read aloud the Declaration of Independence that we celebrate this week.

As great as that document was and is the real sacrifice came in the blood and lives of the men who signed it and those who fought and died to make it happen.

I read that five percent – 1 in 20 – of every white, free males living in America died in the War of Independence. Twice that number were wounded so statistically 1 out of every 6.4 American families either lost their Husband/Father or he came home wounded and maimed. This number does not include slaves and other persons of color – which would only raise the total dead and wounded.

In addition to the wounded, maimed and dead directly related to the war there was approximately the same total number of men, women and children that died during that period due to disease.

If you think things are tough today – imagine how the populace must have felt during the Revolutionary War Period with approximately one third – 1 out of every three households either lost a family member due to death and or lived with their physical wounds and disabilities.

Those were some indescribably tough times and each and every American living today owes that generation of Original Americans a debt of gratitude we can never repay.

How Was Your Day Today?

Does your car have one of those “FOBs?” Can I ask you what the heck is a “FOB” anyway? Is that like “LOL” – which I am still confused about. Does it mean “laugh out loud” or “lots of love?”

I often get replies from my insane e mails or texts with “LOL” and I flinch and think to myself did I say something inappropriate to that person to let them believe I love them? Is it something like the issue we now face of which bathroom to use? My choice is primarily based on how fast I have to go based on my continuing case of Amoebic Dysentery that I got in RVN!

Personally I blame the whole darn thing on Al Gore! When he “invented the internet” he should have come out with a glossary of terms!

OK, back to my real life drama! My friends at Christ Fellowship asked us to visit a 99 year old gentleman who is under home “Hospice” care. We jump in Marty’s car – which has the magical FOB – and we visit him and God really uses the time and he verbalizes the principles of Romans 10: 9 & 10.

We Praise God and get in Marty’s car and my iPhone beeps to let me know Christ Fellowship is asking me if we can visit another gentleman in Hospice at Gardens Hospital.

Of course I text back yes and I press the “button” to start the car. NOTHING HAPPENS. I put my foot on the break pedal firmly and press the button again and nothing happens. I repeat this process three more times and nothing happens. I now scream at the car and curse it for not starting. Is there any chance for me maturing or subduing my anger issues?

Then on the fifth attempt to start the car I NOTICE that when I have my foot on the break I am pressing ON THE RADIO ON AND OFF BUTTON! I press on the START button and of course it starts.

I ask you – who is smarter or mature? The Car or Me?


PS I dropped Marty off at home and when I got to Hospice at Gardens Hospital the wonderful, loving, kind and Saintly women who perform an act of service and grace there greeted me kindly but said I missed him by an hour and his Family had all gone home. I figure it was either God’s Will or I blame it on the Car – it can’t be my fault!

The Chronological Christmas Story

Have you ever wanted to have an easy to read Chronological Order of the Christmas Story? One that you could read for yourself and something you could share with your family and friends at Christmas without having to jump back and forth from Luke to Matthew and then back to Luke again and so on. Here is Uncle Larry’s attempt to give you this tool, all taken from the NIV Translation of God’s Word given to us by St. Luke and St. Matthew.

The Birth Of Jesus Foretold
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1: 26-38

Mary Visits Elizabeth
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1: 39-45

The Magnificat: Mary’s Song of Praise
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” Luke 1: 46-55

Mary Returns to Nazareth
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home. Luke 1:56

Joseph – Mary’s Faithful Fiancée
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. Matthew 1: 19-25

The Birth of Jesus
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. Luke 2: 1-7

The Shepherds and an Angel and The Host of Angels
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Luke 2: 8-20

Wise Men from the East
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. Matthew 2: 1-12

The Escape to Egypt
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Matthew 2: 13-16

The Return to Nazareth
After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene. Matthew 2: 19-23

So ends this Chronological Review of the The Christmas Story – otherwise known as the introduction of the Messiah – the One who was fully God and fully man.

Speaking of the time from Eternity past St. John writes his brief overview of the coming of the God-man:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1: 1-5; 14

Anger – Like Kudzu in Georgia it’s everywhere!

Anger, it’s like Kudzu in Georgia – it grows everywhere and getting rid of it requires digging out the roots and burning them – or throwing them in your neighbors yard if you are angry with him about something.
For me I think of anger sort of like temptation. It’s always around and it just jumps up on me like flies on honey. I don’t have to seek it out, it always seems to know where I am.

Saint Paul told us in I Corinthians 10:13 that “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

Is this where temptation and anger differ? Is God going to provide me a way out of temptation if I am willing to take it – but this latent, deep seated anger that I’ve been carrying around for fifty years or so – is there Biblical support that God wants to help me with that?

Our friends at GotQuestions.org put out a good piece this week on anger – from a Biblical perspective – addressing: 1. Is anger BAD and 2. How we can deal with it. I read the piece and I know I need to work on some of these principles. OK, you got me, I need to work on all of them!

If you are interested in what they are just open this site. It takes about five minutes to read and a lifetime to apply.