The Real Thing

Every year when school was out, the other kids could be found playing baseball, roller-skating, riding bikes, or swinging, but I was inside reading a book. Oh, I roller-skated some and loved my bike, but reading was my first love. I got my first library card when I was eight years old in the third grade.

If you come to my home to visit, you will probably be amazed at all the books, magazines, and newspapers cluttering my home. Why is it that I have such difficulty discarding books? It all goes back to my mom and dad who trained us children to value books. From the day a little cloth book was put in our baby hands, we were taught to love them. “Don’t tear the book. Don’t write in the book. We love our books, don’t we?”

My school teachers influenced my love of books. At the beginning of the school year, when books were given out, I opened the first page to the label that showed who used the book the year before and proudly entered my name on the next line. If the book was new, we went through a procedure of “breaking in” the new book, by opening up to the middle and running our fingers down the middle, then opening to another place in the book and doing the same. We were taught to never open the book and bend it backward which would break the spine.

I can only think of a few times in my lifetime that I have actually thrown a book in the trash. Most times it was because the book was badly damaged, but several times it was because it un-Biblical. How did I know? Because I know what the Bible says.

It is said that banks train tellers to recognize counterfeit bills but giving them the real bills to study. If you know what the real thing looks like, you should instantly know when something is counterfeit.

Paul wrote to Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” II Timothy 2:15 NKJV.

How do I know the truth? I study the Bible for myself.

The Heat Burst

The temperature of Wichita, Kansas, rose almost 20 degrees Wednesday night, right after midnight, (actually Thursday, June 9, 2011) when a rare weather condition called a heat burst occurred during a thunderstorm.

The National Weather Service explained there have to be perfect weather conditions for this to happen. There were strong gusts of winds up to 69 mph, then the storm collapsed onto the winds that were keeping it aloft. This caused the air to heat up as it rapidly fell. Another factor contributing to the heat burst was the dry condition, since the area received almost no rainfall in May. One report said the air starts its descent from very high up, and comes down rapidly.

So briefly here are the heat burst conditions: strong winds with strong gusts; dry conditions; a very high atmospheric storm.

The conditions were just right for something rare to happen on the Day of Pentecost.

“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

Then there appear to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:1-4 NKJV

Fully come. Conditions were just right, all the conditions had been met for the Pentecost celebration to take place.

Rushing mighty wind—strong gusty winds.

Tongues of fire—heat burst, sudden temperature change, the air heated up.

The Holy Spirit—sudden downburst, as the Spirit of God descended from heaven on high.

However unlike the temperature increase to 102 in Wichita which dissipated by 3 a.m., the spiritual temperature on this earth has never decreased.

The Holy Spirit who came to earth on that day to dwell in Christ’s disciples is still here, burning through the world with a heat burst , with a rushing mighty wind and tongues of fire, giving utterance to His people.

Choose Life

Several years ago I was torn between planting blackberries or raspberries along the fence-row. I have always wanted to grow berries and have longed over the pictures in the seed catalog, but I have heard that raspberries are hard to grow in Oklahoma. And I hate the thorns on blackberries, but now thornless blackberries have been developed.

Our yard isn’t quite right for a garden like I had at our other house, which covered about a fourth of the yard. We grew tomatoes, beans, squash, okra, but those plants require space. Blackberries take up a a lot of room too, spreading rapidly in every direction.

I love to garden, but gardening is hard work. What I really love is the dreaming, the planning, the thinking, the studying about a garden. The actual doing of it is where the hard work comes in.

Two years ago I finally made up my mind and planted thornless blackberries along the chain-link fence on the south side of my yard. Last year I harvested 50 blackberries from my four plants, but this year the plants are loaded down with blooms and little berries. I might get a gallon or more.

My problem is I sometimes have trouble making up my mind. James 1:6-8 says, “he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind, …for he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

Double-minded. Unstable. Unable to make a decision, unable to choose what seems to others to be a very simple choice.

The Lord has set a choice before us that will determine our whole destiny.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20, ” I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life…for He is your life and the length of your days.” God gives us a choice and then He even tells us which to choose. He knows what is best, but He leaves the choice up to you.

Choose life. Choose blessing. Choose Jesus Christ.