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Two young boys were standing by the side of a pond one summer day. One bent over and picked up a shiny, smooth stone laying on the ground nearby. He threw it across the pond to try to skip it on the water to see how far it would go. The stone skipped only a few times and then fell into the deep water below. He picked up several more stones over the course of the next hour as his friend just sat gazing across the pond at all of his attempts. He tried different angles and speeds, and still the most he could muster was three or four skips.
In frustration he sat down next to his friend with his hands propped up on his elbows. He would never be able to skip stones the more than 150 feet across the pond. Then he heard something in his mind say “Pick that black stone up over there and give it a try.” He wasn’t quite sure what or who was speaking to him. “Did you hear that?”, he asked his friend. “Hear what?” “Oh, never mind”, he said. And with that he walked over to the small black and shiny stone and picked it up. He raised back his good throwing arm to his side once more and threw as hard as he could.
The stone skipped, and skipped, and kept skipping. It skipped all the way across the pond for 150 feet and bounced on the opposite side on the bank. The little boy who had been watching all along, looked at his friend with wide eyes and said, “How in the world did you do that?” The little boy who had just had the best water skipping stone throw of his entire life looked back at his friend and said. “I guess all stones are possible with GOD.”
A few days ago I had an opportunity to do some research on the history of an old historical house in the Muskogee, Oklahoma area at the Muskogee library for a local real estate company. The house was built way back around 1900 before Oklahoma became a state. Oklahoma was actually the 46th state in the union after President Theodore Roosevelt signed the proclamation for statehood on November 16, 1907. Prior to that time it was designated as Indian territory.
To give you an idea as to what Muskogee was like back in those days I found some old articles in the Muskogee Daily Phoenix ( Muskogee, Indian Territory) dated Friday December 23, 1904 that I wanted to share with you.
Strayed or Stolen
“Two mules, one black, and one grey mule. Both branded “S” on left shoulder, and hip. Liberal reward will be paid for their return to OK Yard, North C. St. Muskogee, I.T.”
J.H. Neil, A Prisoner in the Federal Prison Jail Died Yesterday
“J.H. Neil – A prisoner in the federal jail, died yesterday of consumption. Neil was confined on a charge of introducing liquor. He was a white man, fifty years of age, and has been in jail since December 9, and was brought here from Sapulpa.
There is a story rumored that Neil was a well to do farmer near Sapulpa and was arrested on account of having in his possession a small amount of whisky. This story however, does not seem probable, as Neil’s bail was fixed very low, and if the story were true he could no doubt have given bond.”
To give you a better understanding as to what things were like in those days here are a few facts about the year 1904 in the United States.
The average wage was around 22 cents per hour and I am very sorry to say there were no cell phones back in those days. Can you imagine someone in today’s world trying to make it one single day without the use of their cell phone? As a matter of fact, only 8 in 100 people had a landline telephone. If you wanted to take a bath in a bathtub, you might just have to borrow the neighbor’s tub since only about 14 in 100 households had such a thing as a bathtub. I am sure that most people did not take a bath every day back then. The powder business might have been a good business to be in with the lack of tubs. You also didn’t have to worry about car accidents too much since there were only 8000 automobiles in the entire United States. People also had to get a lot of living done in a hurry since most people on average only made it to about the age of 47.
Fast forward several decades to 2015 and take a look at the headlines of the July 23, 2015 Muskogee Newspaper. The cost of the newspaper today is 75 cents which has risen by 70 cents since the 1904 edition.
Sex Crime Suspect Found in Indiana
“An Indiana man is facing extradition to Muskogee to face charges in Muskogee County District Court for lewd or indecent acts to a child under 16”
Women’s Defense Course Planned
“A Tahlequah police officer wants women to take advantage of a free class geared at teaching women how to avoid becoming a victim. The particular class she is teaching is rape aggression defense systems. RAD for short – The class is designed to teach adult women 18 and over, enough to defend themselves.”
And here are a few articles in the sports section of the local Tulsa World newspaper on June 11, 2015.
OSSAA Approves First Transgender Policy For Athletes
“The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association Board of Directors unanimously approved policy Tuesday regarding the eligibility of transgender student athletes making Oklahoma the most recent state to adopt a similar policy.
The policy comes eight days after a Vanity Fair article spotlighted the recent transition of former Olympic gold medal winner Bruce Jenner to the transgender woman Caitlyn Jenner.”
Legislator: OSSAA Should Allow Prayer in Playoffs
“Oklahoma City – State Rep Bobby Cleveland said Wednesday the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association should allow school prayer at playoff games….”
This is what the current OSSAA prayer policy states.
Policy 19 – of OSSAA Handbook enacted in 1992
“In view of the current law, no school, individual, group or organization may publicly recite a prayer to all attendees and participants to pray, whether audibly or in silence at OSSAA championship events, or at regional, area, district or other playoff events leading to championship events. This policy applies even if the proposed prayer is non denominational, or is offered voluntarily by a student, or a parent or other adult who is not associated with OSSAA or a member school….”
My how things have changed from the early days in Oklahoma. I do wonder what will have happened by the next one hundred years in the year 2115. I can remember thinking as a kid what it would be like to live in the year 2000. It sounded so far off and I wasn’t sure if I would ever make it that far. Well that has come and gone and I do believe that 3000 might be out of the question for me.
It is evident in reading some of the old newspaper articles compared to today, that in the past 100 or so years that things have changed and that we have drifted pretty far from GOD. I am not sure what all of the repercussions might be as a result of our drift, but the apostle Paul did have a few things to say about what might happen in cutting our ties loose from GOD. He states it pretty clear in Romans 1:28-31
Romans 1:28-31 KJV
“And even as they did not like to retain GOD in their knowledge, GOD gave them over to a reprobate mind filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity, whisperers, backbiters, haters of GOD, respiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful.”
As the father of English literature – Geoffrey Chaucer once said
“Time and tide wait for no man”
Let’s just hope that we tie our ropes back in the proper place before a tsunami plows us under.
Circumstances may turn against us for whatever reason. Our friends may turn against us. Our family may even turn against us from time to time. But GOD will never turn against us if we remain faithful to him. Life may wear us down, but we don’t stay down unless we give up on GOD and his promises for our lives.
I had just finished going to Walmart to pick up some orange juice and eggs for breakfast in my old red pick-up truck and there he stood on the corner at the light where I had to make a left turn to go home. His hair was disheveled just like his clothes and it looked like he hadn’t taken a bath in several weeks. His face was haggard looking with lines and creases everywhere from too much sun and too much of life. In his hands he held a small makeshift cardboard sign that had the words scribbled in black magic marker “ Help Me – I’m Hungry“.
As I pulled up to the corner next to him I tried not to make eye contact as I waited for the light to change but something inside pulled at me as I glanced at the change and a few dollar bills I had laying in an open ash tray. I thought ” I don’t wanna give this guy any money. All he is gonna do is go buy some drugs somewhere.” He did look kind of rough and I was sure he was on drugs of some sort. For whatever reason, I rolled down the window and he slowly lumbered to the car door. He smiled and looked me in the eyes. His eyes were piercing and looked as if there was some kind of light coming from inside of him. I grabbed the change and worn out dollar bills that amounted to about five dollars and placed it in his large rough hand. My wife Carol was always giving money to street corner guys that were homeless, but I had never even thought of doing it. Why am I doing this?
I smelled the stench as he drew even closer. He looked me square in the eyes and said ” Thank you Jerry.” I had never met this guy, but somehow he knew my name! He smiled at me over his shoulder as he walked away from the car but he didn’t go back to panhandling. He turned and simply walked down the highway in the opposite direction I was turning.
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
Hebrews 13:2 KJV Bible
I had an opportunity to travel this past weekend to travel to a little town called Poteau, Oklahoma which is situated about thirty miles west of Fort Smith, Arkansas. Poteau is located in LeFlore County which is the only river that flows north in Oklahoma and is a french word that translates to “post” in English.
Poteau has a population of approximately 8600 and is in a valley just below Cavanal Hill. Cavanal Hill is touted as the world’s tallest hill at 1999 feet or 609 meters. Technically to be classified as a mountain, Cavanal Hill would only need to be 2000 feet high or 609 meters. Perhaps another foot might then make it the world’s smallest mountain!
Now compare that to Mount Everest in the Himalayas in Asia which is the world’s tallest mountain at 29,035 feet or 8850 meters high. That is fifteen times taller than Cavanal Hill.
I suppose that is how it is in life too. No matter how great we think we are at something whether it is in sports, or business, or school or whatever it may be, there is always someone who will come along eventually who will be better.
“A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit.”
Proverbs 29:23 KJV – Bible
This is going to be a big day for sure! My best friend Frank Thomas and I are going to drive my 1979 Z28 Chevrolet Camaro from one end of the city to the other. It’s extremely bright outside today like it seems to be on every day here in this city from what Frank tells me. We have everything packed and we’re ready to go. I even have my favorite red and white die hanging from the rear view mirror for good luck.
I back slow looking over my right shoulder. I glance into the rear view mirror. My die wobble just a bit as the back rear bumper just touches the wall made of stone as I tap the brake. There is no way I can damage this big wall though that stretches all around the city on all sides. Frank tells me these walls are 200 feet thick and made of pure jasper stone.
I put the Z28 in park, tighten my seat belt and place my best pair of sunglasses on in anticipation of our long drive. My wife tells me I kind of resemble Tom Cruise when I put these sunglasses on. I glance down outside at the pavement below and see a reflection of myself with the glasses. She’s right I think! I am a Tom Cruise look-alike. The street is gold-colored and shiny and it’s hard to keep looking at even with my sunglasses on. I turn to look at Frank and he just smiles back at me with one of those wide patented grins of his. He has his sunglasses on too along with his favorite Detroit Tigers ball cap with the old English “D”.
Today we are driving from the east wall to the west wall and starting from the middle gate. There are a total of twelve gates spread out along the walls of the city. There are three on each wall. These gates are not your standard pine or cedar wood gates. These gates are made of one solid white pearl. I have no idea how the contractor made these gates but they sure are a site to see. Frank snugs his seat belt as I shift old “Red” into drive.
“Frank, are you ready for this drive?” I say. “It’s going to be a long one, 1500 miles is indeed a long one Jimmy!” he says. “I think we should be there at the west wall by noon tomorrow Frankie if my calculations are correct.” “Yeah, Jimmy, and if we share the driving duties, it shouldn’t be too bad buddy.” Frank drove from the north wall to the south wall of the city a year ago and he said it was the same 1500 mile long drive. He was what many might call a city veteran here. I am not quite sure how Frank knows this, but he says the city is also 1500 miles high. That would make this place a perfect cube then I guess.
We continue to drive about an hour when I start to notice sprawling subdivisions along the way. Houses can be seen for miles in various stages of construction. Some are already completed but these are not your typical subdivisions and these are not your typical houses. These are massive estates with huge acreage parcels of land. The houses are more like mansions and some are outright palaces. The amazing thing is that these are not cookie cutter homes like the homes in many subdivisions. These homes are all different. I have not seen a single one along the way that is the same. I have never seen any homes like these ever before.
I roll down my window and slow to take a closer look. The air smells extra fresh and clean outside. I take a deep breath and exhale slow. “Just look at these houses Frankie.” “I know Jimmy boy” “Look at those flowers over there Frankie! Oh man, bright blue, orange, pink, yellow, unbelievable.” I say. I slam my foot back on the accelerator and we take off like two jack rabbits out in the country.
“Jimmy, Jimmy”. I feel something poking me on the shoulder. “Wake up, wake up, you’re going to be late for work.” I grab a corner of the cold sheet and wipe the crusted sleep out of my eyes. My wife Helen is ragging on me that it’s time to get up. It’s only a dream. My friend Frank has been dead nearly three years and I sold my red Camaro right after he died in that terrible car accident. I glance over at my night stand and realize I had been reading about heaven in Revelation 21 from the bible right before falling off to sleep last night.
“And GOD said, “let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let the birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”
Genesis 1:20 ESV
Have a great day today!
Have you ever seen the birds congregate on the high voltage power lines? It always amazed me when I was younger as to how they never got electrocuted. Supposedly they are okay since they are only perching on one line at a time. If they were to touch both the ground wire and the high voltage wire at the same time, well that would be it folks! We would have an early Fourth of July on the high wires.
The birds that gather together on those wires are what they call communal birds who like to hang out together and visit with one another. Their feet wrap around those wires just perfect. Way up high they have a clear view of any predators that may try to attack them. Cats have a real hard time climbing up that high for a snack. There are no leaves and branches in their way and they can see all around for miles. They can also spot some good food sources from the wires and the sun tends to warm up the wires so they can be pretty nice to sit on sometimes.
We need to be like those little birds in our own life. There is a devil that prowls around like a big cat looking for someone to eat up. So look all around you, keep your eyes open, and be ready for any tricks that he may try to play on you in this life.
1 Peter 5:8 NIV
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
The father has syphilis
The mother has tuberculosis
The first child is blind
The second child died
The third of four is deaf
The fourth child has tuberculosis
Should mom and dad choose to abort the pregnancy based upon previous complications?
If you answered yes, then you would have just killed off perhaps the greatest composer of all time!
“Ludwig van Beethoven.” The world would never have known – Symphony No. 3, Symphony No. 5, or Symphony No. 9 to name a few of his greatest works.
Since the 1973 supreme court case of Roe v Wade 56 million babies have been aborted. One hundred fifty-eight babies are killed every single hour on average in the United States.