Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Alledged Doubter

From John 20:

19-20 Later on that Resurrection day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he showed them his hands and side.

20-21 The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were awestruck. Jesus repeated his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.”

24-25 But Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.”

But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”

27 Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.”

28 Thomas said, “My Master! My God!”

29 Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing” (John 20:19-29 Message).

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

This Easter—just a few days ago—I became fascinated with a phrase from this narrative.

“But Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.”

Where Was He?

Maybe he had momentarily run to get a cup of coffee. Or perhaps he needed to check on his family. Could it be he just needed to get away—maybe go to that place in mountains where Jesus had taken His disciple on retreat. It couldn’t have been too far—there had not been time to travel any distance.

Twenty-four hours before this gathering of the disciples, they had all fled—scattered from the authorities and killers of Jesus and scattered from each other. There is the possibility that Thomas didn’t get the memo that a get together was scheduled. Wherever he was, “he was not with them.”

What Was He Doing?

The truth would sink in:  My world has changed, and there is no repair shop that can make it like it was.  

Wherever Thomas was and whatever else he was doing he was doing what you are doing—grieving, mourning and…

WONDERING

Wherever he went, would you guess he just needed to sort things out? Grieve privately? Try to figure out what he was to do, now? Now that his life had upended and the One to whom he had given his allegiance, future and dreams was gone? He was wondering what was left.

REGRETTING

Did I do something wrong? Did I miss clues and red flags? Could I have done things differently?

REMEMBERING

Having spent 2-3 years with Jesus, what would he be remembering? He surely would remember the trip to Lazarus’ funeral. All the other disciples had tried to talk Jesus out of going. Thomas had been the one to encourage him—“We’ll go and face down your enemies or we will die with you,” he had said.

He would have remembered when Jesus had told them he was going away. We have the story in John 14:1-6

14 Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

What Caused Him to Return?

I don’t think this disciple had walked away from faith. As far as he knew, the reason for and the center of his faith had left—there was nothing left. It had vanished when Jesus said, “It is finished.”

Some Bible scholars say the other disciples knew where Thomas was hanging out and went to check on him. I heard a man tell his story the other day as he celebrated a family who came looking for him when he was trying to find his way from addiction. Thank God for those who come looking for us.

During that visit, the Bible Writer says the visitors said, “We saw the Master.”

Those words sound so academic, sterile. “Oh, by the way, The Master stopped by.” There isn’t even an exclamation mark at the end of the sentence in John 20—“We saw the Master.” I doubt it was like that at all. It would have been the first thing out of their mouths. It would have been loud and packed with emotion—lots of exclamation marks!

Don’t you think Thomas would have done a confused and dazed “Say what?” It would have taken a minute to assess that news. “What did he say? What did he do? From the beginning—tell me everything!”

“He said ‘Peace be to you…twice. He gave us His peace—twice.”

PEACE

Jesus’ “Peace to you,” was not a unique way of saying, “Hi, Guys.” He was giving them peace to replace their present fear. They were hiding in fear. Jesus said, “Peace.” He may have been saying “shalom” with a specific application to the moment and their state of mind.

The Greek word Jesus uses means, quietness, rest, + set at one again—it is designated as God’s gift of wholeness—“when all essential parts are joined together.”

Turmoil, mental and emotional fragmentation can be a natural part of fear, mourning, grieving, stress. Nothing fits, all the old patterns and templates that had worked are questionable. Upheaval threatens to become the new norm. But God’s gift is wholeness. He puts the pieces together.

Apostle John tells us that Jesus was preaching a hard message and the crowd started walking out. Not just one here and there, but hundreds or thousands at a time.

“So Jesus asked the Twelve, ‘Do you want to leave too?’  Simon Peter replied, ‘Lord, to whom would we go. You have the words of eternal life’” (John 6:68).

Occasionally God zaps us with Peace or floods us with peace, but usually it comes to us in seed-like words or events.

I was told this story by the main characters. Grandmother knew how to bake desserts and sweets which made going to her house a great adventure. The grandkids don’t get many sweets at home, but it’s a different story at the Grandparent’s house. A few days ago, Grandmother died. This time going to her house was different, no cookies or cakes, but lots of questions. “How come Grandma is not here? Why did she get sick?” For starters.

A couple of days ago, the grandmother’s son, his wife and their young children went into a convenience store and while there, the little boy acquired a snack. They took it to the counter—the young clerk came around the counter knelt to look the boy in the eye and talk to him. As the clerk placed the snack into a sack, he told the little boy his own story of his age.

When in the car, they opened the sack and found not only the sack of snacks but suckers. Six big, extraordinary suckers. The Mom asked where the suckers came from. Since no one knew, Daddy thought they should be paid for. He took them back into the store and told the clerk about the mysterious suckers. No one in the store knew anything about them. None had placed them in the sack. There were no winks—every clerk claimed total ignorance of where they came from including the young fellow who shared his own story.

There were 6 of those super suckers.

The young father and mother immediately knew where they came from! They were the kind of sucker that Grandma would buy. And there was one for her grandson, one for her granddaughter, one for Mom, one for Daddy, one for Grandpa and one for an important Uncle.

They may have been super suckers, but they mostly were peace seeds—words of eternal life—to speak to the grieving hearts and fragmented minds. A message from Grandma and a gift of wholeness from God.

Apostle Paul describes the peace—God’s gift of wholeness when nothing fits together:

And the peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus….” (Philippians 4:6).

QUESTIONS

The disciples described that evening and that Jesus suddenly appeared in the room, one of the disciples said to Thomas, “Then he showed us his hands and his side.” (20:21)

It was not a doubting or impudent Thomas, but a stunned Thomas who said something like, “Well, if he showed you his hands and side, I should see them also.”

It was 2000 plus years ago last Sunday night—

26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” 27 Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.”

“This time Thomas was with them”

I wonder if Jesus was looking at Thomas when He said, “Peace to you.” Did Jesus repeat the ordination and promises and authorization?

Thomas had questions; Jesus had answers. There was no ridicule or judging or eye-rolling. Jesus made room and opportunity for questions and wonderings—the “Why’s” and “Howcomes?” And he still does! And that is the most important point of this narrative. Jesus gave Thomas His presence and attention, not just answers. That brought peace, joy, hope, direction. Presence!

We have no video evidence that Thomas took Jesus up on the offer to touch his hands and side. We do know what he said…

“My Lord, my God.”

That was not a cognitive declaration. Thomas was not saying, “You’ve convinced me.” It was not just mental assent. We have no description of this disciple falling onto his knees before Jesus, but it seems probable.

For a couple of weeks, I have tried to ascertain what all Thomas meant with his proclamation. I have a clue. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy met Soviet Leader Khrushchev for the Vienna Summit. Kennedy wanted to challenge the Russians to a “Peace Race” rather than an “Arms Race.” Khrushchev was impressed with Kennedy’s preparation for their talks but had no interest in the proposal. He seemed to be committed to a nuclear subjugation of the USA. Given the President’s goals and hopes, the Vienna Summit had been a failure. President Kennedy was described as despondent.

On the long flight home, JFK wrote a paraphrase of a quote from Abraham Lincoln:

“I know there is a God. I can see the storm is coming. If He has a plan for me, and I think He has, I believe I am ready.”

The Sunday night altar surrenders, and dedications are so important. This goes beyond. At some point we must establish the pattern of “My Lord, my God—whatever your plan for me, I am ready.” For Thomas the frequent “My Lord, My Master, My God” led to India.

The next step, next season, next “next” depends on the response–“My Master,  my God.”

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

(c)2022 D. Dean Benton –A specialist in wondering.

Blessed & A Blessing

I’ve been re-reading my ebook Meanderings to prepare it for marketing on another digital outlet. The book is a substantive look at Abram/Abraham, his family, and his journey of faith and into Canaan. The covenant and promise God spoke to Abram is:
“I will bless you…and you will be a blessing to others” (Genesis 12:3).
Before I quote a couple of paragraphs from Chapter 22 in Meanderings, I am wondering how much time you have thought about God’s blessing this morning. We have listened to a daily devotion which didn’t exactly speak to me. We listened to an hour of news and commentary. My mind is filled with abortion, baby formula, inflation, and distorted “fact”-speaking. Not much about God’s blessing. I blessed my wife. This is an important day for her, and I would be pleased if God would bless her in ways meaningful to her. I firmly believe God spoke to her the words he gave to Abram. “Blessing” is not just academic—it is about life lived and shared.
“How would Abram know that he was blessed? How would he bless others? How would nations be blessed through him? God promised him a son, a heritage, and a land.
“The arrival of a boy child and possession of a land. The child arrived, but Abram did not. He owned a burial plot. A small part of the inheritance. Is half of the promise adequate? Hebrews 11:8-10 gives external clues. Abraham was a curious seeker who maintained an atmosphere of encounter for his family.
     “The Abrahamic walk of faith for us is to stimulate curiosity in yourself and create atmospheres where the diminished can encounter the Lord that ignites their own curiosity and vision.”
     “Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city…designed and build by God.” Hebrews 11:10 (The Message)
(c) Copyright 2022 D. Dean Benton

Contrasts–by Doug Benton

Perfect morning. As Kona (Dog) and I came to the edge of the property on our walk this morning, I became aware that this was one of those moments. If only there was a way to capture it. Not on film, but in my spirit. As we walked out of the cool shadows and the filtered light that found its way through the trees that have just about given up for the year, and into the fullness of the morning sun I stopped and soaked it in. I wanted to memorize it. Not just the image of it, but the essence. The contrast of the warmth and coolness wasn’t limited to the air temperature. As I was standing in the sunlight watching and feeling Kona’s joy in the moment, I looked back up the trail we had just came down and noticed how blue the light was in the relative darkness of the trees. I hadn’t noticed it while I was in it.

Kona and I have walked that path many times since moving here. It’s been hot and sweaty, cold, and windy, and everything in between. It wasn’t really the coolness or the warmth that struck me this morning, it was the contrast, the experience of them in relation to each other and at the same time. The warmth and weight of the sun on my face and cool emptiness on the back of my neck. The frost in the blue light, on the shadowed side of meadow, turning into big droplets of dew clinging to the blades of grass as the yellow light of the sun washes over it.

The richness and fullness of the moment wasn’t in the warmth or the cold. Nor was it in the wet grass vs. the dry path. The darkness of the trail or the brightness of the open field. It was in the contrast. The one, defining and emphasizing the other. It’s the contrast and the transition that brings awareness and appreciation.

I’ve been pondering and mulling this over for a couple of hours now. The truth is, I hate the cold. I hate the long death of winter. Given the choice, I would never be cold again. In fact, this morning I put on a sweatshirt, hoody, coat and gloves before I went out. Plus carried a hot coffee with me. I did everything I could not to experience the cold. For the most part I was successful. The only part of me that I hadn’t protected from the cold was my head, and I hadn’t gotten very far into the woods when I wished I had worn a hat. It wasn’t really cold; I was just aware of ears being uncomfortable.

I wonder if my experience in the meadow would have been different or missed had I been toasty warm the whole way. Would I have just kept walking, finishing the loop and headed home still absorbed in whatever it was I had been thinking about before I became aware of how perfect the moment was? Would I have missed the moment without the contrast?

If I have talked to you about lighting, you’ve heard me talking about the importance of contrast and shadows. Without them there is no texture, form or depth. It’s the contrast between light and dark that shows texture. It’s the shadow that reveals the form of a thing. Beauty is often in that revelation. Movement and life in the transition. Here’s the key though, that’s only true when there is balance, and the contrast is is not too great. It’s when the brights are too bright and the darks too dark that things can be difficult, confusing, hard to understand or just plain ugly. The more the contrast, the less transition. Things that are supposed to be in the middle get forced to the edges. Grays have to choose a side and become light or dark as they cease to exist, until the image is made up of only blacks and whites. At the point that the contrast is too great, and you can’t see detail in both the darks and the lights, the photographer has to decide what will be seen. You can overexpose the scene so that detail can be seen in the darkest shadow, but that means what is already bright will be blown out and lost. If you expose for the brightest part of the scene, the shadows will block up to pure black and all detail will be gone. When the contrast is too great, you will have to choose which you will see, you won’t be able to see both. Seeing one will come at the expense of the other. That’s just the way it is. Unless you have the ability to control contrast. The good news is, there are ways that we can in fact effect or control the contrast range of the scene through exposure and processing techniques as well as other tools like reflectors and lights. That takes both knowledge and effort. Both. You may know how to fix it with lighting, but if you decide hauling around and setting up all that equipment is too much, the knowing doesn’t change anything. If you are willing to do whatever it takes to fix the problem, but don’t have a clue how, you are in the same boat. The desire to control the contrast doesn’t have any impact on the actual contrast. Controlling the scene contrast is up to the photographer.

If you have a photographer friend on Facebook you’ve probably read about how “photography is like life”. Cute and cliche’ on a tee shirt, but still true as I overlay the concept of contrast over my own life. There is no doubt that when things get way out of balance, it’s hard to experience the fullness of life. When the contrast between joy and sadness becomes too great, we have to choose which we will see. Exposing for the sadness will leave joy blown out and unseen. Just Ignoring the sadness and “exposing” for joy isn’t much better if the sadness is still there hidden in the darkness. I wish it was as easy to control the contrasts in life as it is in photography, but it’s not. The good news is though, there are techniques and tools available to help control the contrasts in life as well, but they too require knowledge and effort.

If only there was photoshop for life, complete with contrast and exposure sliders to fix things. Not to mention salvation of the clone stamp and control-Z. Until then I’ve been watching tutorials and taking notes trying to figure it out. Next comes the doing. The hard part. I do believe that life is a gift and that its possible live it to its fullness but it’s not a given. I guess if it were easy, everyone would do it. I’m working on it.

I’ve been missing the beauty in the transition.

How are your contrast levels today?

©2015, 2022 Douglas Benton

You Just Wait!

There has been a stack of very nice jeans just waiting for me to lose 5-10 pounds. After two years, I tried them on. I’ve lost enough to fit back into 4 pair. I concluded it better that someone have use of the other jeans in various colors that won’t fit me rather than put them back on the pile. I added all my ties to the Goodwill boxes, along with shirts I no longer wear. It is important to tell you I gave away no trash or worn-out items. Carole sent several boxes—it is better for someone else to dust around them.

Upon returning from my gifting trip to Goodwill, Carole told me she had just listened to a Prepper who had passionate suggestions to help us prepare for the coming and partially already arrived shortages. Including all the clothes we are going to need.

Quickly doing the calculations, I figured out if the food shortage is going to last, it won’t be long before I will have grown back into every pair of nice jeans I just gave away. Although I tried to plot a return trip to retrieve my generous gifts, I decided that wouldn’t be right. And I didn’t get a receipt!

The Prepper had good ideas to help us through the upcoming “Winter of death,” that our President has prophesied. The Prepper warned us not to throw away twigs, in fact we should be searching for, salvaging, and saving every twig we can find to ignite fires. We have some dirty trees in our lawn that shed enough twigs and small branches to ignite many heating fires. We’ll just park the car on the street.

I appreciate Preppers’ suggestions. We do what we can to prepare. But it feels impossible to prepare for every contingency. Last week, I backtracked a stream of water that was creeping across our basement floor. Plastic bottles of water had sprung leaks–water we had stored prepping for Y2K

The idea of Prepping is to give peace of mind, so we won’t be worried about all the possibilities that might be just around the corner or hidden on the calendar. I think that is a good idea. So, we take notes on what the prophets are saying. Each week we buy an extra package of oatmeal and coffee, and we are filling every available space with twigs and stuff.

But it feels like every day brings a new list of threats.

There are 99 counties in Iowa. It was announced today that three of those counties have been invaded by “Invasive Mosquitos,” that survived the winter. They can carry several diseases and are aggressive toward humans. Our county and an adjoining county are two of three infested counties.

Don’t tell Fauci! He’ll order us to wear hazmat suits. However, that may be our best protection.

We hear from every prophet in the Western Hemisphere. One told us last night that in 83 days all of life is going to change. “You just wait!” “Bleak” just got darker.

The worst thing facing Western Civilization is propaganda. A Prepper we viewed on YouTube recently was a stark example of staged insinuation. His gun rack was just below the white board h was writing on. He was alerting us to the untrustworthiness of all Capitalist institutions. One of our friends posted, “They are not predicting shortages, they are planning them.” Who they are was not revealed, but it may very well be true. Or not.

You just wait! We better not. While talking with you, half-a-dozen pop-up warnings have come on screen telling me, “This is your last chance….”

We are not gardeners. We are, however, thinking about tearing out a bush or two, tilling and fertilizing a section of our front lawn to grow veggies. Our version of a Victory Garden. The trees providing twigs keep most of the lawn in shade all day and it is questionable whether veggies will grow in shaded areas. It might be cheaper and a safer investment to buy buckets of survival food that will last “up to 25 years.” Think through “twenty-five years.” Those 5-gallon buckets of survival food would become the “farm” we will to our Grandes who will be middle-aged by then.   We’ll have to decide who gets the twigs.

https://www.youtube

There has been a stack of very nice jeans just waiting for me to lose 5-10 pounds. After two years, I tried them on. I’ve lost enough to fit into 4 pair. I concluded it better that someone have use of the jeans in various colors that won’t fit me rather than put them back on the pile. I added all my ties to the Goodwill boxes, along with shirts I no longer wear. It is important to tell you I gave away no trash or worn-out items. Carole sent several boxes—it is better for someone else to dust around them.

Upon returning from my gifting trip to Goodwill, Carole told me she had just listened to a Prepper who had passionate suggestions to help us prepare for the coming and partially already arrived shortages. Including all the clothes we are going to need.

Quickly doing the calculations, I figured out if the food shortage is going to last, it won’t be long before I will have grown back into every pair of nice jeans I just gave away. Although I tried to plot a return trip to retrieve my generous gifts, I decided that wouldn’t be right. And I didn’t get a receipt!

The Prepper had good ideas to help us through the upcoming “Winter of death,” that our President has prophesied. The Prepper warned us not to throw away twigs, in fact we should be searching for, salvaging, and saving every twig we can find to ignite fires. We have some dirty trees in our lawn that shed enough twigs and small branches to ignite many heating fires. We’ll just park the car on the street.

I appreciate Preppers’ suggestions. We do what we can to prepare. But it feels impossible to prepare for every contingency. Last week, I backtracked a stream of water that was creeping across our basement floor. Plastic bottles of water had sprung leaks. Water we had stored prepping for Y2K

The idea of Prepping is to give peace of mind, so we won’t be worried about all the possibilities that might be just around the corner or hidden on the calendar. I think that is a good idea. So, we take notes on what the prophets are saying. Each week we buy an extra package of oatmeal and coffee, and we are filling every available space with twigs and stuff.

But it feels like every day brings a new list of threats.

There are 99 counties in Iowa. It was announced today that three of those counties have been invaded by “Invasive Mosquitos,” that survived the winter. They can carry several diseases and are aggressive toward humans. Our county and an adjoining county are two of three infested counties.

Don’t tell Fauci! He’ll order us to wear hazmat suits. That may be our best protection.

We hear from every prophet in the Western Hemisphere. One told us last night that in 83 days all of life is going to change. “You just wait!” “Bleak” just got darker.

The worst thing facing Western Civilization is propaganda. A Prepper we viewed on YouTube recently was a stark example of staged insinuation. His gun rack was just below the white board h was writing on. He was alerting us to the untrustworthiness of all Capitalist institutions. One of our friends posted, “They are not predicting shortages, they are planning them.” Who they are was not revealed, but it may very well be true. Or not.

You just wait! We better not. While talking with you, half-a-dozen pop-up warnings have come on screen telling me, “This is your last chance….”

We are not gardeners. We are, however, thinking about tearing out a bush or two, tilling and fertilizing a section of our front lawn to grow veggies. Our version of a Victory Garden. The trees providing twigs keep most of the lawn in shade all day and it is questionable whether veggies will grow in shaded areas. It might be cheaper and a safer investment to buy buckets of survival food that will last “up to 25 years.” Think through “twenty-five years.” Those 5-gallon buckets of survival food would become our        We’ll have to decide who gets the twigs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIvCGooNbR4

Does it seem strangely odd to you that we have a major bird flu going on right now? Preppers are telling us to buy chicken, but chickens are being killed by the millions to “flatten the curve.”

BEAK MASKS — The Lunatic Farmer

I read an article that urged us to determine our vision of outcome and work toward that goal. The non-connected next Tweet quoted Psalm 107:30

“They were glad when it (the sea waves) grew calm, and he (God) guided them to their desired haven” (NIV).

Joel Salatin, the Lunatic Farmer, has scheduled a 2-day event that will provide a “Tool box” of skills and habits to help us manage our reactions, survival and thrival abilities. We are too many miles from his Virginia farm, but I need and want what he and company are offering.

This from the linked promo:

“This year’s summit focuses on helping you build a “Tool Box” so you can become more resilient physically, mentally, emotionally/energetically and spiritually. From learning to cook using healing herbs to rewiring your nervous system to literally using your own hands to heal yourself, by the end of the summit, your Tool Box will be filled with a diverse array of remedies and strategies to help you unlock the healing potential inside your body.”

TWO DAYS OF TRUTH NUMBER TWO — The Lunatic Farmer

I am very serious about prepping. Prepared for projected shortages, dark days and for eternity. After a preparing trip to the store, we weren’t sure what we could find for supper. Living with “You Just Wait!” threatens to take energy away from living today. Yes, it keeps us from kicking the can down the road, but it may push life out of the present.

Listening to an interview with Jennie Allen who has a new book: Finding Your People. Her family moved from Austin, Texas to Dallas. From her experience, she suggests finding 5 people within 5 miles to befriend and live life with them.

I asked friends what I should add to my list of content to “pour into” people with whom I am “walking with.” One lady said to be more intentional about Research. Being prepared speaks to that. A man says to include the value of a few close friends and good songs. We can’t wait for some valuables.

Be a Dr. Prepper…?

©2022 D. Dean Benton

.Examine my new ebook–Mining Reality & Truthhttps://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1139107

Grandpa Always Said

An interesting conversation with a 92-year-old lady yesterday in a bookstore. Surprised me when she volunteered that she was 92. I think she had just come from the hairdresser or an expensive clothier. Maybe both. She was looking for a non-fiction or political book to stimulate her thinking.

“Things don’t look good for our country,” she said. So, we talked politics. One of her friends saw her and invited her to lunch. She postponed lunch so she could finish her conversation with me. Nice!

She kept referring to “Grandpa.” I assumed she was using a nick name for her husband, or some influencer I should know. No. She was quoting and talking about her grandfather. Do some math. What calendar years would her Grandpa have been talking about when he sowed wisdom and information into this lady? Do you suppose he ever said, “When I was your age…”? “Grandpa” could have referenced his life in the late 1800s. What could he have told her that still stands up in April 2022?

The lady told me one of her questions is whether she should have paid for her grandson’s college years. “No common sense”—among other things. Given what I perceived as a hunger for knowledge and what other people are thinking and writing, it is interesting to me that she quoted her Grandpa and not her father or grandson.

Grandfathering and Grandmothering has changed.

I wonder if that lady decided her postponed lunch date was the wisest choice. I know our chat set me on a search for those things I learned from my grandparents—or someone’s grandparents—and the things to which I wish we all would have paid more attention.

My entire life, at least from my earliest recollection, I have heard the biblical prophecies of a cashless society and the one-world government: the motivation for and the bad outcome. I heard stories of the Great Depression. I wish grandparents would have been clearer about the causes that would make sense in the 1920s and the 2020s. More certainly, to what our culture should be paying closer attention.

Two of my non-fiction ebooks have been published in the past six weeks. (Seizin the Season and “Mining for Reality & Truth).  A novel—The Carafe Conspiracy—is waiting for me to finish the last section. A half-dozen years ago, I heard someone say they were committed to “Walking beside” and “Pouring into.” I wondered exactly what it is that will benefit the people we walk beside. What shall we pour into them? And what is the source of those life-productive resources and relationships?

This is where I am so far. Besides, “I love you,” I want my grandchildren to quote me about:

  • RIGHTEOUSNESS—Personal alignment with God, Truth, Reality.
  • REDEMPTION—Of all things, nations, tribes, and people lost.
  • RESILIENCY—Ability to discern, bounce back and stick with it.
  • RESPECT—For all life, personal property, people’s opinion & experience. Empathy. Revealed Truth and instruction.
  • RESOURCEFULNESS—Aimed at preparation, solutions, strategies, critical thinking.
  • RHYTHMS—Life seasons; being present to laughter, tears, celebration, silence.

The rhythm section must include March Madness, open day of baseball season, time by a body of water.

What would you add to this list?

Papa Dean

©2022 D. Dean Benton

You Gotta Sing

One-hundred-fifteen years after the crew abandoned Endurance and she sank, that great ship has been discovered.  The expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackelton . Twenty months of constant life-threatening experience.

Five-thousand men applied to go on the Endurance Expedition. Each job application contained the same question: “Can you sing?” One man protested that he was not a performer to which Shackelton defined the task as joining in to sing with the rest of the crew.

During the ten months on the doomed ship, regular nights were designated as gramophone nights for listening to and singing with recorded music. When orders were sounded to abandon ship. Shackelton informed the chief musician that he had already carried his banjo off the ship. Months later, the crew was informed they would be limited to two pounds of personal articles. Shackelton said the banjo would be taken on the trek. “For we shall need it.”

One of the strangest parts of the A&E movie about the expedition was watching the crew singing after supper. Can you imagine mechanics at your car dealership or stylists at the beauty salon singing as they work on your car or style your hair? How about your family singing at the supper table? Feels odd, doesn’t it? Had there not been singing in Antarctica, life would have seeped out.

There is no way to describe the harrowing months for this crew. Shackelton joyfully proclaimed that not one person was lost. Sometimes, you just must sing or hum!

©2015 HopePushers, D. Dean Benton, (Smashwords, Spring Daisy Publications) Chapter 13

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/572059

Water. Trees. Leaves.

The words from Revelation 22:1-2 have hung in my soul space for three weeks.

Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.”

I admit my lack of expertise in the End Times. I have avoided Revelation out of concern of misinterpreting it and misapplying it. This book in the Bible is not a collection of revelations about the unknown. It is rather The Revelation of Jesus Christ as He accompanies us through the restructuring of the world and establishing The New Earth and the New Jerusalem. For whatever value it has, the chapter heading/title is “New Jerusalem” which was inserted by a group of editors. That title tells us where and when this incident with the angel and Apostle John visioned it happening: Post-establishment of The New.

Part of our family is vacationing in Guam today. That seems extremely odd to me, though they really like the place. All I can think of is how bloody its history during WW2. In my mind that island never moved beyond the fighting and devastation. I have to keep reminding myself that our family is not in Ukraine.

I have tried to figure out Putin’s motivation, listening to lots of news and opinions. Neither have I figured out how or if Ukraine figures into biblical prophecy, although Russia seems to be connected to the Bible prophecies of Gog and Magog.

I listened to Andy Andrews’ podcast this morning with his guest Joe Savage who is the director of the largest rescue ministries in Eastern Europe. https://andyandrews.com/roads-of-hope/   100,000 orphans in Ukraine and for those who are trafficked—and that business is brisk along the borders among the refugees. Sexual and slave labor trafficking! Half of those orphaned kids will be dead before they reach twenty years old.

We watched the news during supper tonight. My lettuce did not want to be swallowed! Nor did anything. The word “corruption” defines so much of that nation. At the same time, the arts are alive with music. Loyalty, patriotism, and courage are capturing headlines and social media videos.

I have a young acquaintance whose adopted grandparents are close friends. He spent several years in a Russian orphanage. I have generally avoided the Baltic, Balkan and Slavic Nations. They seemed so far away and so very different than me. But there is that young man whose wounds have been touched by Jesus. It doesn’t seem so far away, now. Two years ago, we were on a work trip listening to Glenn Beck talking about Hunter Biden and corruption in Ukraine. The Slavic Nations became part of our personal and national conversations. CORRUPTION!

To Revelation 22:1-2:

That river fascinates me. Does it flow in a median? Is it The River of Life? The headwaters are at the Throne of God and the slain but resurrected and enthroned lamb. Will we swim in that river?

Trees on each side of the turnpike which yield a fresh crop each month. How many trees per city block or rural mile? Is there any connection with the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden? Is the eternal assignment of that tree in the garden revealed in Revelation 22? The Creator has always been into fruit and orchards. I heard recently that there are so many kinds and types of apples that if you ate a new variety each week, it would take you 20 years to get to the bottom of the peck. But it is the leaves that John the Revelator tells us about. Water, trees, leaves.

Here is the point of the revelation:

“The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.”

If, historically, this event happens in the latter stages of The End Times or in The New Times, what are the nations? Which nations? In the Reign and Rule of God’s Kingdom, are we to understand there are still nations? Nation states? Sheep nations and goat nations? If this is “historically” after the Rapture of the Ekklesia and the Revelation of Christ, why would those nations need to be healed?

What kind of trees are they? What is the substance in the leaves that heals nations?

Back to World, 2022.

I think each nation has powerful exceptionalism and treasures—natural and human. Yet those treasures are damaged and destroyed by what God calls sin. Every nation needs the healing Apostle John describes.

I’ve been wondering if God wants to turn on the spigot, plant trees and harvest leaves. The news people keep telling us there are nations that need to be healed.

Please, Father. Heal our nation. And Russia. China. Ukraine. Portugal. Ethiopia. All of the nations. And those who hurt and cry.

©2022 D. Dean Benton

Dean’s ebooks: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/889323

New eBook almost ready for you

My book, Mining for Reality & Truth, goes to the formatters this weekend to prepare it for digital publication.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Chapter One                Your View of Your Worldview

Chapter Two               Streetlights on the Highway to Truth

Chapter Three             Totalitarian Tools

Chapter Four               Christian Worldview

Chapter Five               Developing & Maintaining a Christian Worldview

Chapter Six                 Kingdom Spiritual Infrastructure

Chapter Seven             Enquiring of the Lord

Chapter Eight              Red Pills Available OTC?

Chapter Nine               Front-End Alignment

Chapter Ten                Tidying Up the Mine

Publication expected by April 1.

My other published ebooks: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/889323

Plan now to read the free sample when published. Thanks.

©D. Dean Benton

Fat Tuesday

“Movement in the right direction.”

That phrase, from Pastor Bill Johnson (Bethel Church—Redding, California) grips me. Of course, the response is to ask which is the right direction.

Today is Fat Tuesday. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Movement in the right direction today is toward a place where serious food consumption takes place. That would include shrimp po boy sandwiches, red beans and rice—perhaps shrimp and andouille or Étouffée, with Mardi Gras King Cake for dessert.

According to Google—

“Mardi Gras is French for ‘Fat Tuesday’, reflecting the practice of the last night of eating rich, fatty foods before the ritual Lenten sacrifices and fasting of the Lenten season.”

It feels as if Fat Tuesday is really the last chance to stock up—gorge ourselves—to take in adequate supplies to help us make it through the next few weeks. I’m thinking the “right direction” is getting to the good food and then getting out of town before darkness falls and scrimping and sacrifice begins.

I know what Lent is about. After the past two-plus years and war fog this season, we don’t need to enter another season of darkness. We know the horrors of the Cross, but we celebrate Easter!

I propose we give up for Lent those things that blur or steal whatever moves us toward righteousness—victory for people facing war, poverty, darkness, addictions, bondage, and limitations. Remove—like a sacrifice—all things that limit our prayers, worship, and celebration of God’s presence.

Movement in the right direction—Celebration and declaration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

©2022 D. Dean Benton

Adjust To Taste

A Catholic priest used the wrong word and now thousands of baptisms are considered invalid. He said, “We baptize” rather than “I baptize.” He has resigned. That threw me into semi-panic mode. How many “wrong” words have I used? Does that mean all the weddings, funerals, baptisms, counseling sessions and conversations at the coffee tables are invalid?

I follow Amber Benson on Twitter. She is professor of marketing at Southern Methodist University. She identifies as a Pentecostal. She tweets a lot and has a keen inner eye. She is a Bible student. After hearing about the above priest, she quoted Romans 8:26.

“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words” (TLB).

It’s been a morning! I have listened to a Dr. Jordan Peterson podcast, (https://www.jordanbpeterson.com/podcast/s4e82/), Dutch Sheets (“Give Him Fifteen” on YouTube—2-16-22), and Ms. Benson. They all said that the Gospel of Jesus is more than words. Apostle Paul has some things to say about this.

In recent months my coffee drinking has not been pleasant. Nothing has tasted good or right, the way it is supposed to taste. We’ve tried different brands  and then take it to the basement pantry where it is dark and cool and out of sight. Where has the aroma gone?

I don’t need a coffee fix therefore I seldom drink convenience store or fast-food coffee. One of the reasons I drink flavored is to cover the taste of brands that disappoint me. A few days ago, I brewed a pot and Carole said it smelled like “old coffee that has been sitting in the pot.” It did. You can be critical of my preaching, singing, writing or me personally and I might agree, but to a negative remark about my coffee hurts my feelings. Got to fix it.

I decided to revert to a glass pot Mr. Coffee. Coffee maker shopping revealed a new marketing tool. Most of the coffee makers now advertise a “strong brew” button. I’m not into strong or darker tasting, as in the burned taste approach.

I need to get this right.

My idea was to brew the coffee in a new maker and then store the fresh coffee in a thermal carafe to keep the taste and aroma appealingly fresh. I carefully read the instructions. I’ve been brewing and drinking coffee since I was about ten when my mother became a café owner, but something has gone wrong.

I found that a “cup” is now five ounces rather than the six I’ve been thinking is standard. I also discovered, according to the Mr. Coffee instruction booklet, there is a difference between teaspoon and tablespoon when measuring coffee to put in the basket. I may have been using the wrong tool to measure. I’m told to use one tablespoon for each 5-oz cup. Wow! That seems like a lot! Every nerve in my body will be on militant alert. Mr. Coffee says to adjust to taste.

Our coffee drawer has more brands and flavors than Walmart. There is also vanilla extract, mint flavoring, salt, and spoons of varying sizes. There is the possibility—I’m still experimenting—I’ve been using the wrong measurements and measuring devices.

I don’t know who told that priest that getting the words exact was the most important measurement. Did the priest or his superiors ask those who were baptized? Did it take? How would they know—what criteria?

The Twelve explained to Jesus that they had watched him caste out demons. The demons left! But when they tried the demon wouldn’t leave. The chance is that the disciples asked, “What words do you use, that we don’t?”

The Kingdom doesn’t depend on us “getting the words right.” Mercifully. There is grace and Holy Spirit!

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power (1 Corinthians 4).

With the publication of my ebooks Seizin’ the Season, Mining for Reality & Reason, and Carafe Conspiracy, I’m seeing I’ve been writing about getting the mix right and using the most beneficial and measuring tools.

©2022 D. Dean Benton

Seizin’ the Seasonhttps://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1132813