Friday, June 30, 2017

SPECIAL OFFER ON PRINT BOOKS - JULY ONLY


During the entire month of July, there is a limited time discounted prices on the eBook versions of

  • Traveler's HOT L Vol 2. - New Tales from the Time Traveler's Resort - 2nd Edition
  • The Mixer Murder - And Other Detective Case Files
  • Insecticide - A Science Fiction Thriller

Each title has it's own discounted time window.


Good news for you:
I’m also offering $1.00 off the regular price of the same titles from the CreateSpace store at the same time!
Too good to be true?
Nope.
The only catch is you have to click on the password under the cover on the home page at www.crdowning.com.

That click takes you to the CreateSpace store.
Enter the word you clicked on (Tempus in the photo above) as the password. Each title has a separate password.

Select the number of copies (hint, hint) you’re ordering.
During checkout, enter: QTGYF5ER in the “Enter Discount Code” space. All titles use this discount code.
$1.00 will be subtracted from the cost of EVERY copy you order.

  • Although CreateSpace is part of Amazon, you cannot get his discount through Amazon. 
  • Neither can you use PRIME for shipping.

Please take advantage of this month-long offer on print copies of these three books.
Read on!


Next Special Offer: Four in Eight (4 discounted books in the 8th month of the year)

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Expressions of Faith: Hebrews Ch 2. Family

In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.”
 Hebrews 2:10-12

Family

Christ suffered.

Think about that.

The God of the universe suffered.

Why?

Without suffering, Christ’s time on earth would have provided an incomplete experience in humanity.

Complete human-ness results in Him calling us “brothers [siblings]”

Our families are made whole when we are made holy by the only one who can make us holy . . .
Christ

I pray that you will seek His holiness this day.


Next Expression of Faith: Slaves to Fear

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Timeless Truths. Baccalaureate Address: Allspice and Crescent Wrenches - Conclusion & Reflection



This is the second of a series of blog posts that were originally Baccalaureate Addresses for the Monte Vista High School Classes of 1981, 1984, 1985, 1988 and 1 year with no reference date, probably in the 1980s, too.

Originally, each Address was part of a Baccalaureate ceremony. Not once in the five times that I was asked to speak was I given any limitations. Because of that, I preached five sermons with a salvation message in each. I'm grateful to God and the MV Administrations for those opportunities.

For these blog posts, the Addresses are presented over two weeks. They didn't take that long at the time of delivery. Now, part of the second week will be a reflection and comments on what I might change if I was giving the address in 2016.

Each Address included a “magic trick.” I am not a magician. My magic tricks required minimal digital dexterity—digital meaning fingers not computer savvy. I thought about videoing myself doing them, but I gave away the prop box, and now it’s missing. When possible, I’ve included a link to a YouTube video of the trick. 

Each of the colors used for the bottles in this post represents the color of solution used in the magic trick in 1981.

If you are an MV grad in the year of one of these Baccalaureate Addresses, I hope it brings back a fond memory.

If you are not an MV grad in the year of one of these Baccalaureate Addresses, I hope it becomes a fond memory for you.

Read on, MacDuff!!


NOTE: All Scripture quoted is from the Good News Translation.

In Part 1 of Allspice and Crescent Wrenches I described several terms that sound like ALLSPICE sounds--good in any situation. This week, we look at the CRESCENT WRENCHES.

Allspice. Doesn’t that sound like it’s good for anything? It’s one of the most important ingredients of Caribbean jerk seasoning, in moles, and in pickling; it is also an ingredient in commercial sausage preparations and curry powders. That’s not even close to all kinds of cooking.

Crescent Wrench. By adjusting the width of the jaws, it is useful in a large number of situations from small nuts and bolts to a nut or bold as big as the jaws open.

 There are various philosophies, theories, ideas, and concepts that all sound valuable and worthy of living for. However, some are like ALLSPICE, the only sound good. Others are the CRESCENT WRENCHES of life. They work in any situation.
Do not deceive yourselves; no one makes a fool of God. You will reap exactly what you plant. If you plant in the field of your natural desires, from it you will gather the harvest of death; if you plant in the field of the Spirit, from the Spirit you will gather the harvest of eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8a

The first post in the series ended with:
The field of “natural desires” is filled with ALLSPICE.
Examples were: HAPPINESS, SUCCESS, MONEY, FAME, POPULARITY, WISDOM, LOVE.

The conclusion was:
When you harvest from the field of natural desires, all you get is ALLSPICE.

Part 2 begins here.
If you plant in the field of your natural desires, from it you will gather the harvest of death; if you plant in the field of the Spirit, from the Spirit you will gather the harvest of eternal life. Galatians 6:8

It’s in the “field of the Spirit” that we find our CRESCENT WRENCHES. Let’s take a look at them!

But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these [CRESCENT WRENCHES]. Galatians 5:22-23

PEACE.
The top photo is an idyllic country scene. Serene and peaceful.
It takes more work to find peace in the lower photos. What’s peaceful about a raging waterfall? [lower left]. In the lower right you see a blow-up of the peace. A bird sits on her nest. She’s not worried about the waterfall. She’s a peace because she knows her situation is safe.
God’s peace is both.

JOY.
This is an attitude. It’s not always bubbly. It’s a deep, settled feeling. Happiness comes and goes. Joy is permanent.

PATIENCE.
This is confident trusting in God. Job is the classic example. His life careened from wonderful to bad to worse to horrible. He never doubted God’s plan. His patience was rewarded.
Unfortunately, too many of us pray, “Lord, give me patience . . . and, please hurry up about it!”

KINDNESS.
Another attitude. Matthew reports this explanation from Jesus.
He will put the righteous people at his right and the others at his left.

Then the King will say to the people on his right, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father! Come and possess the kingdom, which has been prepared for you ever since the creation of the world. I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes, naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me.’

The righteous will then answer him, ‘When, Lord, did we ever see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we ever see you a stranger and welcome you in our homes, or naked and clothe you? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?’

The King will reply, ‘I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these followers of mine, you did it for me!’
Matthew 25:33-40
Kind people, the righteous in this parable, do kindness without expectation.

HUMILITY.
A man hated for his humble spirit decided to write his autobiography. He titled it, “Humbleness, My Greatest Quality” and couldn’t understand why no one would buy it.
True humbleness is doing something worthwhile and not caring who gets the credit.

[The LORD] has no use for conceited people, but shows favor to those who are humble. Proverbs 3:34

SELF-CONTROL.
This is a real problem for many of us. SELF- is control of verbal and emotional and physical responses. Too often “mouths are engaged while the brain is in neutral.” Too many people have the idea that anger motivates. Anger doesn’t motivate; action is the real motivator.

FAITHFULNESS.
Be consistent. Honor your word. Be committed. Do your best.
Noah wasn’t a ship builder. Because of his faithfulness, he completed the ark.
Abraham was happy in his own country. Because of his faithfulness, Israel became a great nation.

GOODNESS.
Matthew Henry, a renown Biblical scholar, describes goodness as being “ready to good to all people as we have the opportunity.” Notice the similarity to KINDNESS!

LOVE.
Not the ALLSPICE versions of EROS and FILIAL. This word is AGAPE, the Love of God.
Loving and not expecting or requiring love in return. Unqualified love. Love for you—right now. Right where you’re sitting.

 LOVE is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; LOVE is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; LOVE does not keep a record of wrongs; LOVE is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6

You might be saying, “The crescent wrenches sound great . . . but, they’re not me!

  • They can become an integral part of your life.
  • God provides them and the method of attaining them.
  • These crescent wrenches are ours through the Holy Spirit.
  • In Galatians 6:22-23 [printed at the beginning of this post], Paul gives his readers a list of the “Fruit of the Spirit”—our crescent wrenches.
  • All nine are fruitSINGULAR. Fruit grows naturally. Lemon trees don’t moan and groan as each lemon is maturing. Some people work really hard at demonstrating these traits AND FAIL MISERABLY because you can’t gain any of these through work of your own.

Fruit of the Spirit is a natural result of surrender, yielding to God, and living the abundant life He promises.


Bottom Line:
Allspice is nice, but it won't suffice.
Let go, and Let God!

In an attempt to tie this fragmented talk together, here’s an illustration.
I managed to reconstruct a “Magic Teapot.” Instead of a generic YouTube video, you can click on the Magic Teapot link and see ME doing the trick. I'm sure it was "slicker" in 1981!

If you were there in 1981, you know I’ve got significantly less hair now. Here’s a montage of my sartorial situation over time.

I hope you watched the video. It is an excellent illustration of my point. Once at the video, you're in "my" YouTube channel. There are a couple of "story" videos you might remember and enjoy as well.

REFLECTION

  • My first reaction is, “Wow! This is really long!”
  • I don’t know how long it took to give this address that day. My guess now is close to 45 minutes. Oh, my. Bless all the graduates and their families for their courteous attention.
  • I think Mary Swikard read about the virtues of wisdom from Proverbs after I finished. I felt sorry for her since my comments were "wisdom-neutral" at best.
  • If I gave this address in 2017, I would change very little. I’d update a couple of references and modify some wording in places. For example, I might change the title to "Allspice and a Crescent Wrench." While that sounds clunky, it's more accurate to the illustration. I’m glad that so few changes are needed.
I was going to post these baccalaureate addresses as part of my bi-weekly Almanac series. After finishing this first one, I’m using it in my weekly Timeless Truths series.


That’s the good thing about God. 

His truth is timeless.



Next Timeless Truth: The I AM Series #1 - I AM the Messiah


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