A place for thought.

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Psalm 103:12

Psalm 103:12
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

I looked at this verse differently. What if you turn around? I was excited. It fit so well into the rest of the Bible. Repentance is an abrupt about face, turn from your sin and turn toward God right? So I shared it with three pastors. I’m thinking this will preach! But not only did no one get all excited and start to make sermon notes; they didn’t even like it.
Looking into it I think I now understand why. The modern day view of Grace is that our sins are made right. But sin is never right and can never be made right. God prunes the bad branches and takes them to the dump to be burned and while we are on Earth the consequences remain. Only Godliness goes to heaven. We work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
So how far is my sin from me? I’m a fairly normal guy. I read books and find descriptions of people who think a lot like me. I can be driving in my car singing worships songs (Walking West) until someone cuts me off for no good reason and I ride their bumper (Walking East) and then the love of God finds its way back into my heart and I back off and look for my place in keeping the highways safe (Walking West). I’m making an effort to walk toward God all the time, but I don’t and going from walking away from God and walking toward God is always an abrupt about face.
So what is the Grace God gives us? What is this undeserved gift that we should not be able to even conceive? I believe that because of the Grace of God we can understand what goodness is. We can make a choice between Good and Evil because of Grace.

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Christmas Tree

We never wanted to kill trees, we do. We use paper, we have chairs the basic structure of our home is tree. But killing with a worthwhile purpose is different. I would never kill a buck in order to put the poor beasts head on a wall. From our first Christmas we (or I) could not have a tree killed special to place the dead carcass in our home as a decoration. We purchased live trees in pots and after Christmas we planted the trees in yards across Bakersfield. Several of the trees grew tall before they died in the hot valley they were never intended to live in, a few still live. We have decided to replace lost evergreens with trees better suited for this valley, like Pecan or Locust (we still have research to do).

I was given the task of purchasing our second (?) cut from its roots tree. We looked in tree lots and decided ahead of time on a small, simple tree. When the time came I could not do it, a tree should at the very least be allowed to grow into decent sized firewood. As an alternative I made a tree. No one likes my tree. Only God can make a tree.img_1377

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At the very bottom a purple blob of fur pushed itself into a crack between two rocks covered with barnacles and starfish. The starfish slowly inched their way away while the barnacles continued their existence pretending not to notice. He was not a creature of the sea; he could not naturally breathe in the cold, dark, salt water. He was not a creature of Earth and could not breathe naturally the air above the water either, but he made do not being a being that breathed. He absorbed. The water here and the air above held all the ingredients he needed to survive. So physically surviving was not a problem, but that did not mean survival was not a problem. He was a creature of constant communication; his kind were never without the touch, well almost never. When his spaceship, a worthy ship he had taken off automatic pilot on a whim, clipped the rock, which for no good reason had protruded out of the sea, at that point all communication with his kind had ceased. He reached out cautiously with his sensor field for other life and became aware of a bright orange starfish. He enveloped the starfish in a bubble of questioning until he found it’s central place of thought. The starfish thought in a startling different fashion! He tried to make sense of what he found. He searched data banks within his own massive storage facility until he found the word that represented what the starfish was trying to communicate: fear! The Starfish thought only of fear, wave upon wave of fear. The starfish’s fear motivated only one action and the starfish continued to inch away from the blob of purple fur that had intruded upon it’s home. He, the blue blob, sent a message of peace, he urged it to relax but he realized much of his communication was misunderstood by the starfish and he was only able to convince the animal to be slightly less frantic. The blob pushed itself more securely into the crack between two rocks and urged himself to relax without much more success. His body found the nutrients it needed, obtained the temperature that supported its internal functions. He stayed squeezed between the rocks as time passed around him. The starfish returned. The barnacles grew. Above the sea the seasons changed from summer to fall to winter and to spring but the ocean changed very little. The purple blob of fur almost gave up hope, and then he did. When all hope faded he filled an internal bladder with gas and floated to the surface of the sea, he floated with the kelp and foam from wave to wave, from day to day, until the water changed to sand. He pushed the points of his slenders into the coarse sand until the mass of his oval, purple fur covered blob of a body was held a foot above the sand by the four slenders he used as legs, the points of his slenders dug into the sand about four inches and made movement difficult. He pulled up one slender until the point cleared the sand, adjusted the angle of the slender and put it down six inches in front of him, he did this one at a time with each of his four slenders and with practice found he could move at a decent pace along the sand, next to the ocean. He moved along the beach, a purple fur covered blob with nowhere to go and without the constant communication he had always had with his own kind. He traveled in a slight curve, keeping the salt water close at his side, moving forward, or backward, or sidewise, he had no way to know but he continued which gave his life purpose and brought him back from his hopeless state. He felt, for the first time since his ship had clipped the rock that he might consider continuing as a life form.

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Jimmy, Super Kid (part twenty-eight)

My father starts to explain how the police operate but Ricky and I both give him looks so he changes the subject, “I’m going to stop and pick up your mother before we drop Ricky off,” he says to me. I’m sitting next to him in the front seat; Ricky is by the door looking out the side window, lost in thought.

“Good idea,” I respond. “Mom’s a lot better at the hugging and consoling.” My father is more of the manly man type. When we pull into our driveway my father waves at the back seat indicating we should get back there and then he disappears into the house. I have to give Ricky a nudge to get him moving and then he still doesn’t understand why we are at my house instead of his or why we need to change seat but he follows my lead. We sit staring ahead for several minutes; my mother must have needed to change or something.

“He’s going to be alright,” I say because it’s the right thing to say.

“You don’t know that,” Ricky sounds pretty depressed.

“No, I don’t. But it’s still true. We’re going to figure this out,” I believe what I’m saying but have no facts to back it up.

My mother hurries into the front seat, out of breath and still putting on a little bit of red lipstick, “Hi,” she turns and looks at the two of us. “I’m so sorry Ricky,” she reaches over her seat and can just tap Ricky on the shoulders with her fingers. “How are you doing?” she asks Ricky. He just hunches his shoulders so she gives him another pat and then turns around as my father backs the car out of the drive and heads for Ricky’s house.   No one says anything, everyone is thinking about Ricky’s mom and the best way to tell her her husband has been abducted. I’m pretty sure the best place for me is far away but I want to hear as much about what Ricky’s dad does for a living and what he does with his spare time so I plan to be a fly on the wall. We park in front of Ricky’s house and march toward the front door like we are being lead to a firing squad.

Ricky opens the front door and shouts, “Mom!” at the top of his lungs. I think it’s his normal greeting. And then he adds, “Ricky’s Mother and Father are with me!”

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A Decision

I’ve decided to be a writer. My definition of being a writer is that I will write. It has nothing to do with being published, or having an agent, or even making money. But it does change my life. In the past I have always had physical occupations; pipeline, concrete, carpenter, handyman, not in that order but all with the legitimate credentials associated with each trade. Even as a handyman I did not consider myself a jack-of-all-trades but I considered it a trade in itself with a defined wall between it and other trades. The one thing all of these positions had in common, the one thing writing does not include, is they are all physical. At one point I remember answering when someone asked if I workout, “I do not sweat without getting paid,” and at that point the statement was almost true. (Very few statements are completely true.) If I truly become a writer I will have to add a form of exercise to my daily routine. This has never been done before and I’m not ashamed to say, it scares me a little. I have no intention of going down to the local fitness facility and purchasing a monthly membership. Walking is something I already do and plan to add just a little more walking to my days. That’s easy, but it’s also just the legs. I won’t carry those little weights and swing my arms while I walk. I despise push-ups. If I get a set of weight lifter type weights and a bench I’m sure they would rust out in the back yard and I’m surely not going to bring them into my house and sweat all over my nice smelling home. Pull-ups? I have a bar behind the fort, but I despise pull-ups just as much as I despise push-ups. I could do small jobs. A little concrete work here, a little carpentry work there, and that is what I’ve been doing for the last ten years while I’ve been writing my novels and short stories. So, I guess nothing changes, but I have decided to become a writer.

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Go East Young Girl

“My sins are removed as far away as the East is from the West, it says so in the Bible,” she suggested by her tone that she was pure and sinless but, I knew her better.

“Psalm,” I replied and just let it hang there.

“Who?” she asked.

“Psalm, it says that in Psalm one-hundred-three the twelfth verse.

“Says what?” she looked a little mystified.

“What you said, that your sins are removed as far away as the East is from the West. It’s written there in Psalm.”

“In the Bible right?”


“So I have no sin, it’s been removed,” she said with a good deal of pride. I wondered if that could be a sin.

“As far as the East is from the West, right?”

“Right,” she had made her point and was getting tired of me.

“Face to the East,” I asked nicely. She just gave me a confused look.

“Which way is East?” I understood her confusion and pointed toward the East. She turned in that direction.

“How far away is the West right now?” I asked.

“It’s East for as far as I can see. I could walk this way forever and never get to the West!” she said with a big smile.

“Turn around.”