Saturday, March 26, 2016

Lots of Info in that Empty Tomb

     There is an enormous wealth of Information in the Bible about the Empty Tomb. Important Information about what was there and also about what wasn't.
     I recent years a lot of talk has been squandered and wasted about a Burial Shroud. Forget any Shroud. They were not used in Jesus' time. Jews at the time of Jesus almost universally buried their dead as their ancestors did while captive in Egypt: Wrapped in strips of cloth and preserved with spices and oils. How do we know, because the burial of Jesus' friend Lazarus and his return to the Living, describes most of the details?
     The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record.
John 12:17

     There is a reason there is so much detail about the resurrection of Lazarus. It is so we can better understand the resurrection of Jesus. There is a reason Jesus waited so long before his journey to the Home of Lazarus. There is a reason Jesus waited the exact length of time He did before calling Lazarus from his Tomb. Remember, every detail in the Bible is there for a reason. So we can understand God's Providential Wisdom, Omnipresence, Omnipotence, and Grace.
Christ raises Lazarus, four days after his burial

1 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2  that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) 3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. 4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. 5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. 7 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.
John 11:1-7

     Note that Jesus Knew the exact condition of his Friend Lazarus. Jesus knew Lazarus was sick before Mary and Martha send word to Him. Jesus also knew exactly when Lazarus had died, because as God, Jesus was both there and with Lazarus in Spirit. Jesus waited two days before starting His journey to the home of his Best Friend. It puzzled his disciples, it puzzled Martha and Mary, but not Jesus, he had a Plan for this occurrence long before the foundation of the world itself. As always, though Martha and Mary thought Jesus was 4 days late, Jesus was right on time.
     "Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. 23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world."
John 11:21-27

     Martha knew that her Brother would rise again in the final resurrection, but she didn't understand that Jesus had prepared a Miracle so all of us could better understand the Love and the Power of God. We see clearly how much Jesus really Loved Lazarus as an individual and how Jesus is truly our Best Friend. It was evident to all how much Jesus cared, because "Jesus wept". The shortest verse in the Bible, yet one of the very most important.
     We see that there was no Burial Shroud from the description of Lazarus trying to free himself from the burial cloths. He was tightly wrapped from head to foot, and a Napkin, probably his own Prayer Shawl still wrapped around his head. He couldn't see, he couldn't get lose from the multiple cloths wrapped around his legs, arms and body, yet he was trying to come forth as his Master had commanded.
     Later at Jesus' Tomb Peter and John also found Jesus' burial cloths. But these were different; still wrapped tightly in the shape of a man, Jesus had risen right through the fabric leaving the cloths undisturbed. No doubt the spices made the cloths stiff and appear as what we would call a mummy shape. Yet Jesus' Prayer Shawl, referred to as a napkin, was folded neatly in another place. A sign of completion.
     No there was a true wealth of information in an almost empty tomb. An undisturbed mass of cloths still wrapped around a missing Body, and in another place someone, some Rabbi, had folded a Prayer Shawl. Jesus' Prayer Shawl. That is all that was there, but that is more Miracle than most of the world today understands. Jesus came through the cloth, through the stone before it was rolled away. Jesus had already journeyed through Hell and carried Paradise away before the Disciples knelt and looked in the tomb. The First Fruit of the Resurrection had already led captivity (the Old Testament Saints) to their new Heavenly Home. He conquered Death, Hell and the Grave quite literally. Amazing Grace in Action.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Truth about "Moderate" Muslims

     There is NO Moderate Muslim. There are only two types of Muslims:
1. Believers who believe because they have been forced to or else; 2 Believers who are really foolish enough to believe Mohammad’s fabrication.

Mohammed knew some were easily fooled and would worship anything that sounded like a god.

He also knew that most would not; for those he wielded a sword for intimidation, BELIEVE OR BE BEHEADED, SUBMIT OR ELSE, PAY TRIBUTE AND ALLEGIANCE OR DIE

Mohammed’s plan worked.

His thugs enforced Mafia-like rule and weak believers kept their mouths shut and acted like they believed.

These are the “moderate” believers today. Some/many have never even read the Koran. It doesn’t matter if it is true or not, non-believers who admit to not believing don’t last very long. Moderates keep their mouths shut and financially support any and all levels of Jihad because that is what Muslims are supposed to do.

Islam has nothing at all to do with god. It never did. It (religion) was a tool to keep enforcer thugs, thieves and slave traders in line to do Mohammed’s bidding and later his successors. Allah the Moon god said what Mohammed wanted him to say, at the time he needed god to say something.

Today Muslims are trapped in a lie they can’t even acknowledge because they would immediately be targeted.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Valentine's Day 1957 Oakwood Elementary

     I must have spent 2 maybe 3 hours at our dining room table. Mom dumped a brand new package of cardboard Valentines in front of me. I had to find the perfect card for the newest girl of my dreams.
     Definitely not the waddling duck, no romance there. Not the Puppy licking the Frog; that makes dogs slobber and foam at the mouth; and besides the frog looked a little like Jack Stafford. That's it! We've got to give cards to the guys in the class too, I'll give the frog card to Jack. I'll give all the corny cards to guys and the cute cards to girls; but the best card has to be for Gilda.
     Gilda Walters wasn't the most beautiful girl ever but in my 5th Grade class she was special to me. I don't know when I noticed her, but she definitely had that something special. That gleam in her eye; that graceful skip in her step as she jumped rope; and a giggle that was intriguing to say the least and the way she could swipe up a whole hand full of Jacks and still catch the little rubber ball. Wow! She was talented too. This had to be my dream girl. I had to find the perfect card to let her know.
     Not one with cats, I hate cats. I needed hearts and flowers, and special romantic stuff so she'd know exactly how I felt. I placed the one with waddling ducks on the bottom of the pile and went through the cards one by one. Not the Pony, I'll give that to Bill Shaver; he always sits and draws horses, he'll be a famous artist some day. And I am certainly NOT giving Gilda a Pig card, Max Edrington's Dad raises Pigs, he gets the pig card. We got our eggs from a lady that lived down the street from Glenn and Glenda Crabtree so Glenda gets the Chicken card, it's kinda cute but not too romantic. Don't want the wrong girl getting a wrong message here.
     Mike Woodside and I played catch yesterday so he gets the Ball Glove card. I set the one with Honey Bees off to the side by itself. Pretty good but not special enough. There was an Apple tree in the background; I might give that to Mrs. Hollis our teacher and Principal. Nope, nope, nope, one by one the cards failed the test of True Love.
     Then I saw it! Cupid with His Bow and Arrows. He was kinda chubby, but loveable. The girl he was shooting at had that same gleam in her eye. Yes! Gilda would get my message with this card. I doodled a Rose and a Heart next to my inscription. To Gilda from Larry. I had found the perfect expression of my Love. I stacked the cards carefully so I'd know who got which card, and made sure Gilda's special card was protected from getting a fold or a crease.
     Valentines day came and Mrs. Hollis had the boys pass out their cards first. I gave Jack the Frog card and went around the room saving Gilda's card for last so it would be on top; I don't remember who got the waddling duck. Next it was the girl's turn to pass out their cards. My mind was on fire. Had she seen the rose and heart? Did she notice her special card? What card had she picked out especially for me?
     Kay Bateman gave me the Bee Hive card. Jack interestingly enough had given me a frog card. Finally I saw Gilda walking toward my desk. She only had two cards in her hand. Bless her Heart she had saved a special card for me too. She looked at the two cards and handed me the one on the right, turned and I was sure I saw a special gleam in her eye before she returned to her desk.
     I held the envelope to my chest, near my Heart, imagining the wonderful card inside. My heart was literally leaping as I opened the envelope and reached inside. It came out with the reverse side showing, I opened it and saw my name, just Larry; no rose or heart but she had written my name. My heart skipped at least one beat as I turned the card over. What could it be?
     Then there it was! My heart collapsed! Misery engulfed me! It was the Waddling Duck.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Bateman's Grocery Store

     It has been well over half a Century since I first slid open that green Dr. Pepper Machine and asked Mr. Bateman for a Baby Ruth to go with my Dr. Pepper. Sometimes I'd tear open the cellophane corner of a package of nuts and pour in a whole bag of salted Lance or Planter's Peanuts, something Dr. Woodruff my Nephrologist would frown on today. Everything good was there in that drink box, three different brands of root beer, including Frostie; there were NuGrape, Sunkist Orange and Strawberry, Lemon, Nehi Peach, R.C., Coke, Pepsi, LottaCola, SunDrop, and a new one they were advertising on the radio and TV called Mountain Dew.
     In the winter the main feature of the store was the old Pot-bellied Stove. Even after all these years I can still smell the woodpile with its musty old newspaper for kindling, split oak and hickory had their own separate smells; the burnt matches with their sulphur and phosphorous, and even the half empty coffee can cuspidor had an aroma all its own, if not quite so intriguing as the split hickory. Bagged onions and potatoes added to the ambiance and flavor as well as whatever meat Mr. Bateman happened to be slicing. The atmosphere was indeed intense, especially if one of the potatoes had gone bad. 
     The old men backed their overall clad backsides up to the old stove and rubbed the heat in where it seemed to be needed the most. Chairs were provided for the regulars to hang out and trade stories. A couple of creaky rockers, a few cane bottom chairs leaned back against posts, or the woodpile itself.
     A few of the men were farmers, but most were retired from toiling at the old Wrape Head Mill so their stories included the spin of the huge circular saw, logs and frogs, chains and trains, mules and one-time duels and such. Some chewed plug and some an ugly old twist which very few boys my age could stomach. And then there was the smell of Prince Albert and Half and Half. Between the Stove and the pipe smoke; all the food including my Baby Ruth smelled a little funny but we all loved it anyway.
     Many of the old men used canes, and a couple of the grouchier ones could flick an imaginary fly off the back of a young boys head from 20 feet it seemed if the lad was a bit too loud or the least bit disrespectful. One man they made room for was John Smith. John was laughed at by some but not in our neighborhood. John directed traffic with a flashlight at all our Bulldog Football games. The other old men made room for him around the old stove. He had earned his place around the fire over the years.
     I learned my first official Cuss Word from Dennis Janes out on the front porch while drinking a Lemon Soda and looking for lost coins through the cracks between the boarding. I remember Jack Stafford and sister Joan liked those things called Bit-O-Honey but I stuck with Snickers and Baby Ruth, maybe an occasional Zero. I don't remember what Bill and Larry Shaver, Sherrel Johnson and the rest of the ball players preferred, seems like they did like Hostess Snowballs, but our ball lot was right beside the store and we provided our share of Mr. Bateman's business.
     We could buy cigarettes and say they for our Dad, but Mr. Bateman knew when we were lying cause I was usually the one they put up to asking and my dad smoked Pall Malls, while we kids always asked for filters or those new menthols. He'd give us that look and sell em to us anyway.
     There weren't enough kids in the North End for us to have ball teams without choosing girls. I didn't mind so much that most of the girls could outrun me, but it was embarrassing if I got chosen last for the team. An old Sycamore tree was our combination catcher and backstop. Fortunately there wasn't any factory traffic behind us on Vance Street in those days. Not till 5:00 P.M. when the Shoe Factory let out, but even then we could hear the traffic coming across the board slats on Eight Mile Creek Bridge. I used to lay in bed at night 4 blocks away and count traffic on that old bridge. The only time it surprised us kids much is when were fishing under it and a speeder came along and ran the stop sign. As long as we didn't hit any parked cars or the side of the Store Mr. Bateman never complained about our baseball goings on.
     Eight Mile Creek didn't have a very good swimming hole, but Mr. Shaver was real good about loading up his car and taking us to Reynold's Park and the new pool out there. He'd race the car up the gravel hills on Country Club road and give those in the back seat a thrill as the car springs bottomed out. Mr. Shaver was well liked by the North End kids.
     A few years later, right before my dad left on a construction job, I asked him if we could build our own swimming pool? He laughed all the way into the car and out the driveway, saying; "sure, you dig the pool and we'll concrete it in." "Har, har, haar!" Dad thought I was too lazy to do it but less than a minute after he left for Baton Rouge I was on the phone to Bill and about ten of the guys, and we started our own construction project. We had a couple of garden tillers to loosen up the soil, then packed it on the sides. Soon we had a 50 foot pool with a shallow end and one end deep enough to dive. I can still see dad's face when he pulled back into the drive the following Friday and saw the gapping hole in the backyard. But he was faithful to his promise to concrete it in; he did some quick figuring and called the concrete truck for the next morning, then we ran to the lumber yard for wire reinforcing and spent the rest of the time before sunset wiring it together. He even built a sand filter out of pipe and 6 concrete blocks.
     Suddenly our backyard was the center of activity for the entire North End. Only trouble was my Sister Nancy and Calvary Baptist Church sorta kinda took over, and in between my sisters friends giggling and swimming, and Sunday afternoon Baptizing's, I spent all my spare time on Saturdays scrubbing the dad gum pool and mowing the grounds.