When Things Go Wrong

Today started out wonderfully. I woke up at the normal time, although my Precious was up two hours previously. Why she wakes up around five in the morning, I don’t know. But she had coffee ready, so her early schedule is fine with me.

We had eggs, sausage, orange juice, and toast—and Coffee with cream and sugar. Of Swedish descent, Carol is a great cook. She would probably be a world-class cook if I could eat pepper, spices, and all the other stuff that comes with being a world-class cook. But she’s fed me well for almost 56 years. I love her and I thank the Lord for her every day.

This morning as we were reading the Bible after breakfast, my ears were pierced by an alarm.

We have a propane stove in the trailer, and we always open a window and turn on the exhaust fan while cooking. That greatly reduces the potential for CO and CO2 in the air and prevents the shrill alarm from offending my ears.

But breakfast was over, what we thought was an emergency was taken care of, window was closed, and the fan was off. Why the alarm?

I jumped up to turn off the sonic ear-buster near the ceiling, but it wouldn’t turn off. That’s when I discovered the propane sniffer at the base of the wall. I forgot that we have two ear-busters in the trailer.

I quickly opened the door, and within five seconds the ear-piercing beeping stopped. What a relief! But now I needed to find the propane leak.

As I began checking all the connections, Carol said, “I found the problem.” and pointed to the stove. “I must have bumped the knob as I was cleaning and turned it on. I turned it off now. But we never tested that sniffer before, and now we know that it works.”

“Yay; it’s always good to know that our equipment works.” We didn’t blame anyone, we were alive, and we finished our Bible-reading.

That was the in the morning. With no internet at our son’s home up in the mountains, I went to the church building in town to do my work.

In the late afternoon as I was heading home, a pickup approached me on the dirt road, raising dust everywhere. “The road’s blocked by a downed pole and power lines. You can’t get home!” the woman hollered as she drove by. I pulled off the road.

Where is the road blocked? How far away? It’s over 45 miles if I try to go around the other way. But would that get me home?

The questions pummeled my mind. As I sat there, four other vehicles ignored the warning and continued on their way. Those same drivers looked aggravated as they came back five minutes later. My silent prayer was, Lord, what should I do?

Then I heard in my mind: Go ahead. It’s okay. So I started the engine and continued. As I reached the area where the car had plowed head-long into the telephone pole, I could see the splintered pole and power-lines strewn across the road.

“Sir, you can’t go any further on this street. The road’s closed until morning, most likely.” the state patrolman said plaintively.

“My friend, I only need to get to Swiss Ranch Road. Is that open?”

His face broke into a smile. “Well now, that’s the only road that’ll be open for a while. The accident happened just past that turn. Have a good evening.” And he waved me through the blockade.

There were no lights in any of the homes or ranches along that road—power was out. So when I reached the house, I prepared for another procedure: power the trailer with the car.

Power had been out for six hours, and the RV battery was nearing depletion, so I backed the car up to the trailer, connected the power cable, and charged the RV battery with my engine for twenty-minutes. I charged it again at 4:30 the next morning, and community power was back on at 5:35 am.

Afterwards, I remember thinking: When things go wrong, it’s good to know my equipment, and know the procedures to keep things running.

And that reminded me of something else: BEFORE things go wrong, we need to be familiar with Holy Scripture, and have an active relationship with the Lord Jesus. Scripture and the Lord give us knowledge and wisdom for life. It was the Lord Who prompted me with, “Go ahead. It’s okay.” Jesus is never wrong.

Enjoying Life

When we lived in the hills in northern New Mexico, we had two dogs and a cat. Both dogs were larger than the cat, but the cat was still in charge. They grew up together and had no traditional cat-dog animosity. In fact, they loved each other. The dogs were Flicka and Tyke (Flicka was Tyke’s mama), and the cat was Tiggy. The family called her Tig. I called her Critter, but today we’ll go with the family name.

One day when I returned home from work, I saw Tig stalking something – or someone. I slowly got out of the car and crept up to look over the white picket fence.

The cat’s eyes were intensely focused, her belly was barely touching the ground, and her tail was twitching as she ever-so-slowly inched her way forward. Her target? A hapless Tyke, taking a nap about 22 feet away.

I almost held my breath, waiting to see what Tig would do.

Suddenly, like an F/A 18 Super Hornet being catapulted from the deck of the USS Reagan, Tig bolted toward Tyke! Reaching the sleeping victim in a second, she leapt over him, smacking him on the rump with her right front paw as she flew over. As she touched down, Tyke, jerked out of sleep, was up and after her. He instinctively knew the game.

But Tig had it all figured out. Her attack was not intended to include a chase this time, but to show superiority. By the time Tyke could get out an obligatory bark, but before he could generate any momentum, Tig was up the tree that was five feet away.

I can still see it: Tyke standing on his hind legs with his front paws against the tree, vociferously discussing things with the cat; while Tig, hanging onto the tree by her needle-sharp talons about eight feet off the ground, looked down and issued a gentle hiss at the dog. The hiss is translated as, “I win – again.”

 In a few minutes the game was over. Tyke asked for his evening dinner while Tig enjoyed a few minutes in the arms of her adoring owner: our daughter, Rebecca.

Do you enjoy life like that? No, I’m not inferring that you are an animal. Do you take time out of your busy life to have fun?

With all the stuff going on in the world – for example: one mighty nation invading a much smaller peaceful neighbor, people committing murder in the name of their religion, people manifesting intolerance while demanding tolerance from others, people insisting on political correctness while simultaneously distaining common sense, and more – it is sometimes difficult to find time to enjoy a happy moment; but it is possible, and necessary.

Some years ago dad and mom came to visit us. On the second day a gentle breeze was blowing, and dad said, “The temperature is just about right; how about a game of tennis? I’m here to take a break from my hectic schedule.”

We went to the court and began the contest. But within fifteen minutes it began raining. Not a gully-washer or a torrential downpour, but a gentle, refreshing drizzle that encourages rosebushes and lilies to blossom.

“Oh, goodnight! There goes our tennis game.”

“Why, dad? What’s wrong with playing with a wet ball? And with our new shoes, we won’t slip on the court.” Dad relented and we continued playing.

We played hard, and those balls looked like a sideways Saturn as the water spun off. After a half hour, the rain let up and the clouds parted.

“I haven’t had this much fun playing tennis in years. Where’d you learn to play in the rain?”

“You probably enjoyed it because you beat me.” I replied. “But you taught me long ago not to let little things bother me; and this rain was not a bother but a joy. We need the rain.”

“Thank you for learning and thank you for feeding it back to me. I needed the lesson, and YES! I enjoyed beating you.”

We laughed, got dried off and I treated dad to a chocolate milkshake. That was the price for losing. But spending time with dad was never a waste of time. We enjoyed being together.

Do you know that our Heavenly Father enjoys it when we spend time with Him? Hebrews 13:5 quotes Jesus saying, “I’ll never leave you.” That statement alone should give us a great sense of security.

There is nothing we can do about many problems in the world, but we can place our trust in Jesus. Then no matter what happens in the world, when we die we will be with Him forever. Rain or shine, enjoy the time with God as you study the Bible and honor Him in everything you do.

Friend or Foe?

Wind always fascinated me. My 7-year-old hand became an airplane as I stuck it out the window while Dad drove the 1952 Hudson Hornet at the break-neck speed of 60 miles per hour. I enjoyed watching the wind blow water across the neighborhood as water shot high into the air from our garden hose. Wind was my friend. (The Hornet in this picture is not the car Dad drove. I saw it recently at the Enchanted Trails RV Park in Albuquerque, NM.)

Earlier in life, I enjoyed being outdoors. I was 12 years old. It was Saturday morning with a good breeze blowing across our back yard in El Cajon, California. After breakfast, I assembled my kite, tore up an old pillowcase and made the tail, and gave the kite a test flight. I could have bought a 425-foot-long roll of Megalon string, but dad allowed only 300-foot rolls; so I bought 3 rolls. I named my kite Bird. It took off fast – but nose-dived! Ouch!

I made one adjustment to the tail and tried it again. Beautiful!

I waited for a good gust of wind and launched my Bird. Within a half hour, I had used up one roll of string. Tying the string to a stick, I wondered, why not add another roll of string?

I tied the string securely to the beginning of a new roll. Working the Bird very carefully, I released the second roll of string. I had never put a kite up that far. I was happy, but my natural curiosity began working overtime.

Would I be able to take it up another 300 feet? Let’s try it!

I attached the third roll of string and slowly let it out. At this point, allowing for the angle of the kite’s ascent, the kite was probably 750 feet above the ground and in the main air flow that blew above El Cajon Valley. The Bird was tugging firmly on the stick that the string was tied to.

“Eugene, Mom said it’s time to come in for lunch.”

I don’t remember who the messenger was, but what should I do with the Bird? There was no way I could bring it down in time for lunch. Could I tie it to the fence by the telephone pole and see if it’s still flying in an hour? Why not? What happens if the wind stops blowing? I don’t know, but Mom’s calling, so I’ll find out later.

After lunch, I hurried back outside to check on the experiment. I could hardly believe it! The wind had picked up, and the high-flying Bird was not about to come down. And now I began pondering….

I’ve never had a kite that well-balanced. Probably never will again. I’ve never put a kite up that high. Probably never will again. I’ll never be challenged to fly a kite again. I’ve done it!

After I stood there for about 10 minutes looking at the sight, I cut her loose. It was amazing to watch the Bird fly higher and across the valley until it disappeared out of sight. Did it come down in town somewhere? Maybe. But probably on one of the hills surrounding the valley.

The wind is normally a friend to kite-flyers. Years later I taught my boys to fly kites, but they never matched my experiment with the Bird. Wind also turns the giant turbines on wind farms across the plains which generate electricity.

However, most people also understand that the wind can be an enemy. Trucks and trailers are blown over and their contents get scattered all over the highways. Tornados and hurricanes destroy hundreds, if not thousands, of homes and businesses every year. The wind kicks up tremendous haboobs – dust and sandstorms up to 100 feet high – which cover towns and cities with thick layers of dust and sand.

But wind isn’t the only thing that blows across our lives that either help or hurt us. Our words and attitudes can benefit or destroy people. We can either make their day or ruin it. We can either bless others and help them improve their lives or curse them and send them into a spiral of despair. Look at three verses in Proverbs 15.

Verse 13, “Happiness makes a person smile, but sadness can break a person’s spirit”

Verse 18, “People with quick tempers cause trouble, but those who control their tempers stop a quarrel.”

Verse 28, “Good people think before they speak, but foolish people pour out foolishness.”

Don’t speak words that kick up storms or create devastation; use your words to help people. Be a friend, not a foe. Be a blessing to your community, and God may bless you.

A Sure Foundation

Carol returned from shopping. As I carried the groceries into the house, my foot turned to an awkward position and I nearly lost my balance. That’s abnormal because I have a history of being as sure-footed as a mountain goat.

Well, I was sure-footed when I was a 12-year-old kid. On a weekend vacation in the hills of Southern California with my parents, I ran and jumped from huge boulder to boulder and never tripped, stumbled, or fell. I somehow developed the skill of not falling.

When someone trips, the person often stiffens and falls. That’s when bones break, and other injuries take place. But when my foot hits a tree root, or anything else, I don’t get tense. Instead, my leg immediately relaxes, then swings out in front of me to stabilize me. That’s why I seldom fall.

Oh, I should mention this. While standing on the edge of a 10-foot tall granite boulder, the deteriorated front face of the ancient granite crumpled, and I went down with it. But while studying Judo in high school, I learned how to fall and roll without getting hurt, so I wasn’t injured.

However, at 75, I do need to be more careful. What happened this time while carrying groceries into the house? I didn’t have shoes on, but slip-on sandals. As I stepped onto the threshold, my sandal, which was not secured to my foot, turned. Guess what happened next? Yep, my foot turned with it, and I nearly went down. But, out of training, I recovered and didn’t fall.

You probably realize that poorly-fitting shoes can cause various physical problems, and it’s a well-known fact a good pair of shoes that fits our feet is one of the best things we can buy to keep us safe as we walk, run, jog, or just stay at home. Well-known because in 2019, over 91 billion US dollars were spent on footwear.

Good shoes provide a secure foundation while walking. But that applies only to the physical side of life. What about people who trip, stumble, or fall emotionally, mentally, or spiritually? We need something to give us stability in that part of our life, too.

With so much political, cultural, and social turmoil, along with rampant diseases spreading around the world, we need a solid foundation. This is found in a relationship with the One Who created us, and Who wants the best for us both now, and throughout eternity.

We find the instructions we need in Ephesians 6:10-18. The ESV says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance….”

The truths in those verses are not hypotheses or theories. They’ve been tried and tested and have helped millions of people live on a sure foundation throughout their lives. I live by those verses. People here in town and in other states have mocked Christians and tried to destroy us and our belief in Christ, but the accusers and mockers are the ones who are hurting.

Some folks say they have their own reality, and it doesn’t include the Bible or Jesus Christ. But those assumed realities will evaporate like a morning mist, while reality in and with Jesus will provide a sure foundation throughout eternity.

Jesus left heaven to come as a baby so He could give us that sure foundation.

In Case You’re Interested ….

There are three books on Amazon that I wrote, and one that five of my siblings and I wrote. I’ll tell you about them in a minute, but first I need to tell you where to find them. Go to Amazon.com: S. Eugene Linzey: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle and scroll down to see them. All four are treasure-troves of information, insight, and good reading. You can order either print copies or kindle versions – or both.

I’d been taught that all Christians go to heaven. But how was a Christian supposed to live while on earth? I didn’t see much difference in many people’s lives when they became a Christian or joined a church. On Sundays, most people talked about the Lord, sang, bowed heads in prayer, listened to the pastor – most of them – but something was missing.

Why would the Church of Jesus Christ—including all divisions and denominations–need a charter? Simply because I know many Christians who don’t seem to understand the Faith they claim to believe. Going to church and joining it is not the same as understanding the faith.

The Church, including each member of it, needs to keep in mind that our goal in life is not merely to get to heaven. Our goal in life, both on earth and in heaven, is to be a member of Jesus’ team and grow the Kingdom of God throughout eternity. It is by becoming an adopted child of God, and growing into a mature spokesman for God, that we can fully take our place in the Kingdom. That is why we need to know and understand the teaching in Matthew 5:1-12.

This book, Charter of the Christian Faith, addresses this topic.

Absolute truth is something that is true at all times, in all places, for all people, and in all circumstances. For example, there are no round squares, and there are no triangular circles. We may change the descriptive terms, but that won’t change the facts. On the other hand, temporal truth changes with the passage of time. As an example, I am temporarily not hungry. That is true. But tomorrow, I will be hungry. That also is also true.


But why are so many people on both sides of all fences worked up about the differences in viewpoint? A difference in viewpoint can be healthy as long as we don’t fight over them. To use a verse from Isaiah 1:18, “Come, let us reason together.” However, in reasoning or discussing our viewpoints, we must have a standard against which to measure truth. That’s the crux of the matter. The problem is that too many people on both sides of many fences make mistakes.


Our worldview is the basis for how we live: how we think, how we act, how we respond, what we believe, and how we worship. But a worldview produced with limited input produces a restricted or narrow outlook. I endeavor to write about a variety of topics which, over time, can enable the reader to expand his or her horizons. A person doesn’t even need to agree with me, but reading what I write gets him or her to think; and that is the key to maturing both mentally and spiritually. These are my thoughts, my reflections on life, my beliefs. Read them and compare them with your worldview.

Over the years, we have seen a lot of change in the church. We have seen it change from the big central church of downtown in the 1950s to the outlying mega-church in the 1980s. We have seen hippies who accepted Christ in the Jesus Movement of the 1970s become yuppies in the 1990s. We’ve seen a major shift from mainline denominations to inter- and non-denominational organizations. But our desire through it all has been to teach people both in and out of the church to develop a relationship with Christ. Although we believe that church involvement is necessary, it is the personal relationship with Jesus Christ that will see us through both the problems and the blessings of life.

The Bible is a book about civilization, government, war, and intrigue. It contains drama, history, culture, and a lot more. However, it is primarily a book about faith and spirituality. This book was written to answer many questions to help people sift through the sands of time to gain a better understanding of the Word of God.

This book was written by three brothers and three sisters (six siblings in all) who realized after their parents had passed away, that the family was divided into factions. They also admitted there was much they didn’t know about each other, and they decided to do something about it.


The memories they wrote about prompted spontaneous email conversations and phone calls among the siblings. They found themselves saying things like, “I didn’t know you felt that way!” Or, “I never knew that!” Or even, “Me too!” They started learning about one another and seeing each other in a whole new light, and the conversations that occurred every week became highly therapeutic. They accepted one another, and in the process, learned to love each other more deeply than any of them had ever experienced.


Join them on a journey that spans the past 70+ years, as they tell you the stories of family, faith, and friendship. This is a memoir about love and laughter, anger and attitude, groaning and growing. In many ways, it is a story about coming of age.


“Whether you are a family member, a distant relative, a neighbor, friend, or even a complete stranger, we invite you to join us on this journey as we share our lives with you. We hope you enjoy the stories. Welcome to the family.”

Find these books and order them on Amazon.com: S. Eugene Linzey: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle.

Happy New Year, Friends

On December 31, 2020, Carol and I spent a quiet New Year’s celebration together. It was relaxing because from 2011 through 2020, we had been home on December 31 only four times. We’d been in California on New Year’s Eve five times and in Florida once. And this past New Year’s Eve we were in New Mexico.

Several friends asked, “Can’t sit still, can ya?” My response is normally, “You find no moss under my wheels.” And we’ve driven over 29,000 miles in 2021.

It’s well-known by our families, friends, and those who read my articles that we enjoy living in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. All cities, towns, and villages have their problems, but we’ve found this town to be one of the more pleasant places we’ve lived. With that in mind, why do we “hit the road” so often?

One quick answer is: our five kids live in five different states, and my siblings are spread out from the West Coast to the East Coast. We enjoy visiting them. We also have the privilege of preaching and teaching in our travels.

A second answer is: we enjoy seeing God’s creation first-hand. Seeing nature in books and on video is great. But nothing beats driving through the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, seeing the Giant Redwoods in northern California, the amazing Oregon Coast, Puget Sound in the great northwest, the red granite beaches of Maine, the snow-white beaches of Siesta Beach in Florida, seeing Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks, and HUNDREDS of other places.

We also enjoy seeing the marvels of man’s creation, such as Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, the 605-foot-tall Space Needle in Seattle, and the 630-foot-tall Arch in St. Louis.

Historic sites such as the Yorktown, Virginia battlefield, the Gettysburg Battlefield, and Pearl Harbor cause me to stop and contemplate how different life might have been if the political and military tide had turned the other way.

The third answer is: we’re getting older, and some day our travel days will be over. So let’s travel while we can.

As we travel, we take thousands of pictures to document where we’ve been and what we saw. You see many of them in these blogs. We’re grateful for digital photography, because that’s a lot less expensive than the film we bought in the past. We often get our pictures out (on computer or another device) and through our memory, we enjoy those trips again.

The ability to remember amazes me. When I get to heaven, I want to ask God how He created memory. But I think He’ll simply say: That’s My secret.

As I mentally gaze on our blessings this past year, I’m fully aware that many people have died, others have gotten sick, many have lost homes and businesses due to pandemics, government mistakes, the natural flow of economics, and natural disasters. But sickness, wars, governmental problems, business failures, and all the other problems and catastrophes have been going on since shortly after Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden. As we read in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”

The emphasis is: there’s nothing new under the sun. We have modern means of traveling, conducting war, studying, and getting work done, but the essence of life hasn’t changed throughout man’s history. Sickness, death, and all other problems related to life on earth will continue until Jesus stops it. And He will return one day.

But if He doesn’t return soon enough, I will die too. I don’t know by what means, but I will die, and the thought doesn’t bother me at all. Why not? Because that’s life.

In the same concept as midnight on December 31 starts a new year, or a baby being born starts a new life, when my traveling days are over and I breathe my last on earth, I will start a new year, a brand-new life in heaven. It’s part of the Christian’s cycle of life.

However, as badly as I feel for those who have been hurt by various events on earth, I feel worse for those who die while not believing in Jesus Christ. We can start over after a catastrophe on earth, but when we die without faith in Jesus, there is no recovery. Think about it.

It’s all about Jesus

December 25 was a special day of the year. Having said that, you might expect this to be about Christmas. But have you ever … wait a minute. Let’s start somewhere else.

 Joy to the World the Lord Has Come! Angels We Have Heard on High…. Those songs, and others, were prompted by the message given to the shepherds out in the fields with their sheep. Silent Night, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, and many others, were written about a special baby that was born. We Three Kings, and others, were written about several Persian noblemen who visited Joseph, Mary, and the toddler Jesus about a year later in their home.

Who was this famous baby that changed the world? Or, since babies don’t change society, the question should be, Who is this Person that changed the world?

The Book of Matthew starts with Jesus’ genealogy, then verse 18 begins the detailed account of his birth. Mark starts with the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Luke starts with the history behind Luke’s Gospel, then verse 26 begins a detailed account of Jesus’ birth. But the Gospel of John starts prior to the beginning of mankind and prior to the creation of the earth.

John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Verse 3 tells us the Word created everything in the universe. Verse 14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

John 1:2 bounces me back to Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” By this we know that the Word, Jesus, Who had no beginning, created the cosmos.

Okay, now we can think about Christmas, December 25. Was Jesus born at this time of year? Probably not, but that’s another story and don’t worry about it. We’re celebrating the birth of the Person mentioned in John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1 – God in human form. He is the greatest dichotomy of all time. For the first – and only – time in history, a real God was born as a human.

The Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and many others developed myths, legends, and fantasies of gods creating themselves, gods being born, gods squabbling over territorial rights, fighting and killing each other, and a whole lot more. Their pantheons of gods were memorials of either great imaginations, or possibly of demon activity within mankind’s history.

Many citizens of those nations worshipped their gods out of fear, and offered sacrifices, including their own children, to those gods to appease their anger and to gain good business ventures and harvests.

But Genesis 1:1, John 1:1, and the remainder of Scripture tell a different story. The one and only God did not create Himself, because He never had a beginning. He is The Great I Am. God didn’t come to squabble or fight with anyone. Instead, He came to give life, redeem us, give peace, forgiveness, security, and a lot more. It would cost Him His natural life to accomplish it. But He came prepared with that in mind, and nothing would deter Him from fulfilling His mission.

The angels told Mary to name the baby Jehoshua, which means Jehovah is salvation. Through time, it was shortened to Joshua, and through Latin influence, we eventually have the name Jesus.

Have you ever thought about all that? That’s what Christmas is all about. (Christ-mas: a mass or meeting about Christ.)

“In the little village of Bethlehem, there lay a Child one day, and the sky was bright with a holy light, o’er the place where Jesus lay.

“’Twas a humble birthplace, but O how much God gave to us that day, from the manger bed what a path was led, what a perfect, holy way.

“Alleluia! How the angels sang. Alleluia, how it rang! And the sky was bright with a holy light, ‘twas the birthday of a King.”  By William Harold Neidlinger; 1890.

Display your lights, give gifts, share your meals – either scrumptious or meager. Listen to concerts, sing the Hallelujah Chorus and Christmas carols. Visit family, renew friendships.

But always keep in mind why Jesus came. Even as a baby, He was God. But He came to grow up and give His life for us so that we may have eternal life with Him in heaven.

The wonderful greeting of Merry Christmas is joyful, beautiful, and fitting one month out of the year, but Praising God and blessing people is fitting all year long. Be kind to one another and help others in this difficult time in history.

What Should We Do?

When people slander you, what do you feel like doing? When someone hurls insults in your face and maligns your integrity, how should you respond? What does human nature demand?

Please hear this: when we respond in our fallen human nature, war breaks out!

I grew up in a family of 10 kids, and if you know anything about children, peace does not always freely reign. We could sing When Peace Like a River Attendeth my Way, Let There be Peace in the Valley, or Peace On Earth, Goodwill Toward Men all we wanted to, but when one of us was offensive, only Dad or Mom could break us up. That’s fallen human nature. Why are we that way?

Now, lest my siblings find this and read it, I want to affirm that we had a lot of fun and have a barrel of good memories. Our family memoir, Looking Through the Rearview Mirror, bears this out. But we did have war at times. You might enjoy reading about the adventures and misadventures of our family, and can order the book at: https://www.amazon.com/Looking-Through-Rearview-Mirror-Linzey-ebook/dp/B09JM3N5TD/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1634619105&sr=1-2

When emotions get riled up, words tend to fly out of the mouth that might not be true. But if there is any truth to the words, the angry person tends to blow it out of proportion. And this problem is not relegated to children. Adults from 18 to 100 are just as guilty.

So, how should we react when someone attempts to destroy our character? How should we respond when someone broadcasts his or her disdain for us?

The wrong answer is to fight back; to fight fire with fire. Bristling, getting huffy, and trying to set that person straight tends to prove the angry person’s accusations.

There are several versions of the right answer. But since I have a habit of giving simple answers, let me give you one right now although I’m not the author of it.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:44, “I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (KJV).

The Aramaic Bible in Plain English says it this way, “I say to you, love your enemies and bless the one who curses you, and do what is beautiful to the one who hates you, and pray over those who take you by force and persecute you.”

But eighteen of twenty-eight versions I read simply say something very close to, “I say unto you, love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you.”

Loving others simply means, be kind to them.

When I was twelve years old, one of my school-mates hollered, “Your family isn’t fit for a pack of wolves!” When I complained to Dad, he said, “If kids say things like that, just respond, You’re right. we can’t stoop that low.” A few days later when the junior high school thug hurled another similar epithet, I responded as Dad suggested. Amazingly, that was the end of the potential feud.

The old saying, it takes two to tango, can be applied to many situations. Recently, when a man who despises my worldview hurled hateful words at me in a public setting, I told him I considered him a friend. Was he friendly? Of course not, but his actions do not mandate my reaction. I purposely chose to respond in the manner that Jesus taught, and I pray for the man.

Getting angry raises our blood pressure and increases our cholesterol level, both of which are hard on the heart. Anger confuses us and immerses us in a moral quandary. Angry people don’t merely offend people they dislike, it puts a wedge between them and their friends.

An angry person develops a hollow feeling that cannot be filled. The person then has a compound-problem: he must amplify angry emotions and increase his outbursts to justify the feelings of hate. As the situation intensifies, a false reality develops which deepens the deception.

What should angry people do? If they enjoy being angry, they’ll continue as they are. But if they want peace in their lives, they’ll need to realize that the answer to the problem comes from Jesus and can be found in the Bible.

Jesus, the Prince of peace, wants to heal us of our self-inflicted problems, and as Philippians 4:7 says, Jesus gives us peace that cannot be adequately explained.

What else should we do? Follow Jesus’ example and forgive those who offend you. You’ll be happier and healthier if you do.

Walking Toward the Light

I spent three hours working through a research problem, and I needed to stretch my legs and clear my mind.

“Precious, “I’m going for a short walk. Would you like to go with me?”

“It’s 9 o’clock, it’s dark, it’s cold, and no. I don’t want to go for a walk.”

“The walk will be good for you.”

“It’ll be better for me to stay warm here in the RV.”

“Okay; I’ll be back in ten or fifteen minutes. I love you.”

“I love you, too. Take your jacket.”

I didn’t take the jacket because it was still 69 degrees outside; but I didn’t realize it was so dark! I turned on the RV porch light but it is quite dim, and I couldn’t see the moon. Oh well, I’ll just step carefully, and my feet will let me know where the path is.

After walking about twenty paces past the car, I quickly stopped. Something wasn’t right.

I reached out with my right hand and felt prickly pine needles that I couldn’t see. I also couldn’t see my hand. I rubbed my foot on the ground and discovered I was off the path. Because it was dark and I didn’t use the porch light as a point of reference, I hadn’t walked in a straight line.

Well, what do you know? I thought. I’m off the road. My plan didn’t work out the way I thought it would. Hmmm … Carol might gloat over this.

I looked around and saw the RV porch light, but I still couldn’t find the moon. (I later discovered it hiding behind some clouds.)

Walking toward the light, I returned to the RV.

“I thought you were going to be gone for ten or fifteen minutes. What happened? Where’s your jacket?”

“I didn’t need the coat, but it’s a good thing you didn’t go with me.”

“I know: it’s cold and dark.”

Here comes the gloating.

“Believe-it-or-not, Precious, unless I was looking toward the RV, I couldn’t see my hand in front of me.”

“You were smart to come back. I told you it was … oh, never mind. You want some coffee?”

She didn’t gloat. I love her! “Yes, thank you.”

That three-minute episode in the dark reminded me of a recent news report. A man on a 4-day back-country hike found the body of a woman who had been missing for over two months. Apparently, she didn’t file a plan with the forest rangers, nor had she told friends or family where she planned to hike; and a compass was not in her backpack.

Without proper planning, it is easy to get lost!

What do we need for a successful outing? First, tell someone where you’re going.

Next, REI co-op (https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/ten-essentials.html) lists ten essential things: navigation (such as map, compass, GPS, etc.), headlamp and extra batteries, sun protection, first aid kit, knife, fire-starters, shelter, extra food, water, and clothing.

The REI author said, “The exact items from each system that you take can be tailored to the trip you’re taking. For example, on a short day hike that’s easy to navigate you might choose to take a map, compass and PLB, but leave your GPS and altimeter behind. On a longer, more complex outing, you might decide you want all those tools to help you find your way. When deciding what to bring, consider factors like weather, difficulty, duration, and distance from help.”

That is good advice, but many people are short-sighted and don’t invest the time to learn about it.

I find the same goes for people traversing this journey we call life. They are raised to fend for themselves and fight to get ahead – often by stepping on others. But they do not plan for the longer journey: the one that begins at death. Without planning for this final trip, it is easy to get lost – permanently.

What do we need? The map is the Bible and is also our most valuable point of reference. Food and water are wisdom and knowledge we learn in the Bible. The headlamp is the Holy Spirit; He will help us see life properly and walk straight. Clothing is the helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, and the rest of the spiritual armor found in Ephesians 6:11-18. God, Himself, is our shelter.

Your most important trip is ahead of you. Plan well for it by reading the Bible and learning to live for the Lord. Walk toward the Light.

Down Memory Lane (pt.2)

For a couple of years, my brother, Paul, and I’ve been talking about preserving family memories. Our parents and parents-in-law are gone, two of our siblings are gone, and we don’t know what the future holds. Every time someone leaves this life, an encyclopedia of information evaporates into thin air.

How many times have you heard, or even said, “I didn’t really know him”? How many times have you thought, “How would he respond in this situation?” Or, “I know we grew up together, but what happened that gave her a different outlook on life than I have?”

It was time to start documenting Linzey family memories!

To begin, two major factors had to be considered.

1) Because everyone is so busy, the process must be simple. And

2) Because writing is seen as a chore, the process must be enjoyable.

The brainstorming session began.

Proverbs 17:22 informs us that a cheerful disposition (“a merry heart”) is good medicine to the body, but discouragement causes our health to deteriorate (“dries up the bones”).

We could let each sibling take turns choosing a topic to write about, but people’s minds sometimes go blank. Several of our siblings asked, “How do we choose a topic?” So Paul chose the Rememory Card® system. (Look up “Rememory Cards” on the web.) Nevertheless, with or without cards, here is the simple process Paul wrote.

  1. Decide how many months you would like the project to continue.
  2. Each week, take turns selecting a writing prompt and those joining the fun will write a memory on that topic. Write from a half to 2 pages per memory. Paul and I decided on one memory per week, but you can choose your own time cycle. We realized that if we waited too long, we’d lose the enjoyment and the momentum.
  3. Write whatever you want. Nobody will censor your language or stories.
  4. There is no pressure or mandate to write about every topic selected. If you don’t want to write about something, skip it.
  5. You may write about anyone in the family. Your stories don’t have to be only about yourself, however, you should be considerate of others’ feelings when writing about your family.
  6. You can draw from your whole history. Consider your whole childhood as well as your adult interaction with the family.
  7. This is a memoir project. Memory is not always accurate. In fact, it’s been demonstrated that nobody remembers perfectly. Also, we tend to interpret as we remember. We subconsciously fill in the blanks, expand, and erase some aspects of our experiences. So, we don’t challenge anyone’s memory. Memory is specific to the individual.
  8. Every family has both good and bad, painful and pleasant, positive and negative, funny and serious memories. Try to get your stories to reflect a balance and a blend of these dynamics.
  9. Not everybody will remember what you remember, so it might be a good idea to identify the year, the location, and the writer’s name after each person’s story.
  10. It’s OK if your stories focus on yourself, but, if possible, find a way to bring at least one other family member into the anecdote.
  11. This endeavor can create priceless documentation of your family history that your grandkids and great grandkids might never know otherwise.
  12. Simply take turns choosing a topic, gather the stories, and have someone compile them. If the family agrees, you may find a publishing company (expensive traditional or affordable self-publishing company) to format it and turn it into a family treasure.
  13. Keep in mind that this memory project is for your own benefit as well as for the rest of the family. And if you get brave, as my family might, you can have it published for the general public.

Our family started in January and will complete it in October. With six of us writing, we’ll have well-over 400 pages to edit and format into a family treasure.

There are ten kids in our family, with fifteen years between the oldest and youngest. Knowing that fact alone, you may understand why there’s a lot about each other that we don’t know – even coming out of the same family, same church, and same basic culture.

The fact is, we are all different and we all interpret life differently. But all six of us thoroughly enjoyed it, and, as a side benefit, this project has drawn us all closer than we’ve ever been before.

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