Friday, March 9, 2018


The Florida school shooting was a conundrum to me.

When the sheriff blamed his men...publicly shaming them as "cowards"...that seemed very off-putting.  Yet if the officers weren't the problem, what WAS the problem?

Was it the gun and police had not been issued a jacket that would withstand AR15 fire?  Was it their procedure which called for them to set the perimeter and wait for the SWAT Team?  Surely the gunfire called for a response.  It bothered me that things didn't add up.

Now some things have come to light.  Have you ever heard of the "School to Prison Pipeline"?

In 2013, a program was established in Florida to alter the percentages of young brown/black inmates and to also make college and a brighter future possible for troubled kids.  So far, so good.

Federal money for the program and political sway complicated things.  The theory was that kids were "over-policed and under-educated" and to combat that, they would NOT CALL INTO ACCOUNT minor infractions.  In plain English, criminal behavior slid by.

Just as kids know how to act when they have a substitute ("cra-cra"), these kids quickly figured out how to work the system.  Besides them, who else would benefit from such a convoluted system?  Robert W. Runcie was the Superintendent of Broward County Public Schools.  He bragged how student arrests had plummeted under his bold leadership.

Federal money came to the school systems and continuance was insured by a downturn in criminal referral numbers.  They agreed not to report, arrest, or prosecute students like Nikolas Cruz.

And there was another problem.  It would seem that Cruz as a "student of color" suffered as a victim of racist policies.  So the school district didn't do anything about his behavior while Cruz's behavior SCREAMED for intervention.

Who did speak up?  The "School Security Specialist", Kelvin Greenleaf, and the head of JROTC, Peter Mamoud spoke up.  Who else?  Kids showed the school staff Cruz's repeated messages threatening to kill them.  They filed written reports that he brought weapons to school.  Threatening to kill someone is a felony.  A felony would have kept Cruz from buying a gun.  Protection was in place but went unused.

Somehow in the death of common sense, it escaped notice that bad behavior only encourages more bad behavior.  The new policy seemed to say to the kids that they didn't need to behave in high school; they just needed to leave high school with no criminal record.

The system seemed to think arrests and referrals to the criminal justice system were the problem.  So SNAP!  Problem eliminated.  What began as an attempt to help troubled kids have a brighter future...came with unintended consequences.

Here are the officials who signed onto the agreement on November 5, 2013:

Robert W. Runcie, Superintendent of Schools
Peter M. Weinstein, Chief Judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit
Michael J. Satz, State Attorney
Howard Finkelstein, Public Defender
Scott Israel, Broward County Sheriff
Franklin Adderley, Chief of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department
Wanly Walters, Secretary of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice
Marsha Ellison, President of the Fort Lauderdale Branch of the NAACP 
         and Chair of the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board

(taken from an article entitled "The School-to-Mass-Murder-Pipeline")  

Monday, February 5, 2018


One of the nice things about living at Butterfield Trail Village is that you can just spontaneously meet another couple and eat together.  It's hospitality-lite.

Sunday we did that with two couples and took a table for six.  Sunday is always a good day at the HOME because they fluff the menu up on the Lord's day.

During table talk, I think someone asked for a Will story.  Or, it COULD be that I volunteered one.  But here's the story:

Our favorite Kindergartener came for an overnighter last week.  I was getting my love tank filled while he and I were piled up in the recliner watching a Nature show about the great cats.

Will's particular favorite now is watching "Wild Kratts" on PBS and he can tell you about every fast they run, what they eat, how it compares to other animals in that species, etc.  Will especially likes cheetahs and leopards.

Here's a random thought alert.  I'm smiling now because I'm thinking of a friend's saying about how "all old crows think their babies are the blackest".  But really.  This grandboy is bright and does have a killer vocab.

Now back to the recliner.  All at once the narrator stated a fact and that little head popped up as if an alarm had gone off.  "Well, THAT'S awkward that they would say that because cheetahs don't go ___ miles per hour, they go ___ miles per hour."  (Of course Mimi can't even remember the facts, but I'm sure Will was right because doesn't he look like a scientist with those big glasses?)

So as I'm telling this story around the Sunday lunch table, our friend Karen said "Oh, Will must be a Berean".  We all said "WHUT?"

Karen told us when the apostle Paul went to Berea, the people there received his message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.  Those Bereans were thinkers and so is our Will.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018


Yes, Oprah had a rousing speech at  the Golden Globes.  Why was it rousing?  She spoke against wrongs.

But may we speak frankly?  In order to know "wrong", we must know "right".

"Right and wrong" have been missing from the national discourse, replaced by whatever looked right in each man's eyes.  That led to many ills, including the death of self-restraint.

Dan Menninger wrote a great piece in the Wall Street Journal about the death of self-restraint.  LINK

At the Golden Globes, the CONTRIBUTORS TO THE COARSENING OF THE CULTURE sought high ground as they roared their assent to Oprah's call for truth, for being empowered,  for hope on the horizon, and...never again would there be "me, too".

Well...sure.  Who's not for that?  So what's the problem?  It's only rhetoric if there's no power to accomplish it.  "Wretched man that I am; I do not practice what I wish, but do the very thing that I loathe."

Can we move past the fluffy words of the moment to think how moral restraint might actually be accomplished?

Oprah spoke of the media in the quest for "coarse" correction.  The media has the power to expose  someone, but not the power to help someone employ self-restraint.

Surely the fear of being outed might work for some, but most people pursing the love of self aren't swayed by the threat of exposure because they think they'll get away with it...or they'll pay for silence.

Of course moral restraint is found by moving toward THE Source of power.  But do any in that room full of influencers help others by using their work to do such a thing?


Want proof of that assertion?  Know what was awarded BEST TELEVISION SERIES?  The award went to a vicious attack on Christianity called "The Handmaid's Tale".

Dovetailing with the popular theme  "women are stripped of their rights", the Golden Globes lifted high a show about a post-nuclear America run by evangelicals.

Scripture is read while a mean woman in charge zaps an uncooperative handmaid in the face with a cattle prod.  They sing a precious hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers" while impregnating handmaidens to "allow the women to experience God's plan for all women, the bearing of children".

That is unbelievable that it would even be on the air, much less be honored! Wouldn't it be unthinkable to write such a show about Islamic scripture or songs?
Bottom line, what would you say was the message from the Globes?  Speak truth to power?  Oprah said there would be no more turning a blind eye to injustice because the abusers' "time is up".   But as long as the entertainment industry honors what is evil, the industry's boat is not headed for the right harbor.

I was thinking about Harvey Weinstein's judgment and how lickety split the timing was.  For years he was boss hog...and the next minute, he's a bum.  That's how the timing of Jesus' return will seem to those who aren't expecting Him.

It would be nice to think that we could get rid of Weinsteinism, and right now the pendulum has swung toward that direction with abusers dropping off like fleas off a dog with a new flea collar.  But it won't last.  Why?  Human nature.

Self love will remain until a heart circumcision is performed and the individual begins to love God more than self.  Even after that, the love of self keeps popping up like that maniac Glenn Close played in "Fatal Attraction".

Sanctification begins when Christ enters a life, but then our part in the process is to cooperate daily to die to self.  We would be lost in that process without the power that God the Father sends us in the person of God the Holy Spirit.

As appealing as Oprah's words were, without a source of power her words are just wishful thinking.  God is the only real source of Empowerment, Truth, and of Hope.

Saturday, January 6, 2018


Is there global warming?  The climate is always changing, but has man caused it?  Will it be  catastrophic?

I've found my resting place in the book of Genesis, where a Trinitarian creation is set into motion.  Later we read that the Lord's hand continually holds the universe together by the power of His Word.

But not everyone sees the order of things with God at the top.  If God is not in charge, then who?  Some think man is able to cause disorder in the universe by his lifestyle.

Global warming folks say human activities such as human expansion, cutting the rain forest, the use of fossil fuels, car emissions, etc....combined with bovine flatulence...are the causes of the "greenhouse effect" (where trapped radiant heat causes Earth's temperatures to rise).

Former Vice President Al Gore says "the Earth has a fever" and man is to  blame.

Man-made global warming is one theory, but it certainly isn't "settled science" as it is sold to be.  Not all scientists agree and there is a lack of intellectual honesty when one side shames the other with name calling...and then displays no scientific intellectual curiosity.

What proof is offered as evidence that man has caused it?

The man-based model has been supported by 1,300 climatologists world-wide in conjunction with the United Nations.  Now enter the monetary angle.  These scientists' jobs and findings are symbiotic.  And when they put certain numbers into the computer model, the outcome can be skewed toward their assumption.

Normally we wait 30-40 years for a climate "trend" to show up, but this week we've come to immediate conclusions about our 2017-2018 winter.  It's global warming.  Wait, what?  If it's hot it's global warming and if it's cold it's global warming?  Tripe!

That brings us to the anointed spokesperson for global warming, former Vice President Al Gore.

Over and over the former VP's dire predictions are contradicted.  He predicted in his first book that a Greenland ice melt would put NYC under water.

He had to come off that one in his sequel book.

At the same time VP Gore would direct YOUR carbon footprint, he gorges his own footprint with homes and jets...and hypocritically sells his TV network to oil-producing Al Jazeera.

What a curious choice for a spokesperson!  He profits from something that he preaches against...something that he says puts us in "peril".

Other global warming warriors  made the news in July, 2016 when scientists were sent to the Arctic to study the disappearing Arctic ice...and got stuck in the ice.

Then there was this headline from 2000 which said "SNOWFALLS ARE NOW A THING OF THE PAST!  CHILDREN AREN'T GONG TO KNOW WHAT SNOW IS!"

Wouldn't you say this winter's snowfall has caused that hysterical prediction to bite the dust?  Surely global warming alarmists took a step back.  No.  Doubling down, they have said this week it was "natural" to assume global warming would cause an increase in snowfall.  Really?  Can't have it both ways, Fellas.

Listen.  Saving the planet is above our pay grade.  We are here to point PEOPLE to salvation.  What could be more important than that?  But isn't it easy to see how others might view global warming as a type of "religion"?  They even sell "indulgences" that they call carbon offsets.

Let's don't get our books confused.  Which book do YOU think has credibility?  I think I'll go with the Book that has proven accuracy.  #seetheBible'sfulfilledprophecies

My money is on the One who says the world moves ON HIS TIMELINE AND ACCORDING TO HIS PLAN.

Remember the old Mom warning "I brought you into this world and I can take you out"?  God brought the universe into existence and He has the keeping power to hold it fast until the right time.

On that Last Day, He will roll the sky up like a scroll, fire will destroy the Earth with intense heat, and THAT will be global warming.

The Earth and her future belong to the Lord Almighty.

P.S.  If you like videos, this one is helpful as it simply lays out the global warming issues.  It has had a million/half viewings!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


Albert Einstein was right when he said time is an illusion.  One minute you have kids, and the next minute they're having kids.

As 2017 is done and in the books, nostalgia has caused time to lurch backward for me.  Why?

I've been watching old reruns of "Brooklyn Bridge" on YouTube.  It's my favorite Gary David Goldberg sitcom, written about his childhood recollections while growing up in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Bridge pictures a "time" of innocence that 2017 wouldn't recognize.

Just think about our pockmarked old year.  Besides all the vitriol on the airwaves, there was devastation from triple hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and awful fires out West that may lead to mudslides.

There were senseless killings by domestic terrorists in a TX church and at a NV masked and hooded antifa thugs dressed in black and carrying clubs into the streets.

Then there were the men who behaved like brutes.

How we hurt the ones we love!  You only need look at this wife's face to know the humiliation that her husband brought upon her.  Imagine  Matt Lauer having to hurry to his teenaged son to explain the charges against him before they were made public. It is painful when your sins find you out.

Faithful men are to be prized.

Events like that are beyond our control, so Mike and I have been talking about the year-end review of OUR business.  We wanted to remember what God has taught us this year so that we will "get it" the first time through.  No one wants to go to summer school to have to relearn our lessons.

So this picture was us in 2017.  Even as our outer man is decaying, our inner man is CONTENTED, confident in God's sufficiency, and grateful for where He has us.  We love Butterfield and count it a real blessing.  

At ages 75 and 70, our dependence on the Lord is not just blah blah blah.  We actually believe the words that we've espoused for years. As we get closer to seeing Him, the truth that He loved us first propels us to go tell.

Besides, the Cruses can't complain.  We've felt our mortality this year, but what's a goozle-stretch or bone spur removal compared to what some friends are going through?  Getting older helps you focus on what is really important.

The Lord has sharpened our minds through Bible studies (Mike is teaching Genesis here at Butterfield and my BSF study is in Romans)....and undergirded our rocky places.  Our old year probably was like yours.  We loved our answered prayers, and we keep praying for things not yet resolved.

As we've gotten older, we have a better sense about what we can do and what we cannot do.  Some things only God can do.

A Romans 5 verse lit up that truth last month.  There are some unsavory characters that are described as the ones Christ came to save...the sinner, the ungodly, and the helpless.  That described Mike and I once, so that's why we're so grateful for His intervention in our lives.  We're all helpless without God's intervention.

Jesus is the only thing that doesn't change in life.  He stands true when all else moves...His kingdom is unshakeable and He promises to be with us forever.

Mike and I get up each morning and look to see if the other is well.  That's not's just life.  We say daily that we are thankful for each other and thankful for the Lord's sovereign hand on our lives.

You know, some might think Gary David Goldberg wrote "Brooklyn Bridge" with more fondness than accuracy.  Maybe you think such innocence never existed.  Perhaps.  But we know FOR CERTAIN that there is such a place up ahead.  Mike and I hope to see each of you there one day.

Meantime, we wish you God's blessings in 2018...with our love.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


He was an angry man with mental health issues who pushed hard against fences.

*Social fences called him an outsider, and he dated a 13-year-old when he was 18.

*The Air Force fenced him out, discharging him with "bad conduct" after he served a year in confinement for domestic violence (hitting his wife and causing her toddler to have a fractured skull).

*He bumped into the law's fence when he repeatedly hit his puppy in the head, staked it out in the hot Texas sun without water, and then was charged with cruelty to animals.

*By the age of 26, his behavior had fenced out two wives and also his second wife's parents.

*In the end, he decided to fence God out, declaring himself an atheist and destroying what God had made and loved.

What an unhappy soul who caused unhappiness for so many others!  Surely as he exhibited all those signs for all those years, it was God's people who were the ones ministering to him and reaching out to him with God's love.  Now we can trust God to know how to handle this troubled, wayward soul.

Know that line from Martin Luther's hymn A MIGHTY FORTRESS?  It goes "and though this life with devils filled should threaten to undo us...we will not fear for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us".  It was not God's truth that triumphed through the Texas shooter, but the personification of the devil's hate.

God's truth is proclaimed in the beautiful response of the congregation of First Baptist Sutherland Springs (especially the pastor's statement "I don't understand, but I know my God does")...and in the Southern Baptist Convention's response to offer to pay for all the funerals...and in the countless acts of love and support.

Luther's hymn says that our ancient foe seeks to work us woe.  In our modernity, we scoff at talk about the devil or hell.  Instead, we immerse ourselves in the "God is love" mentality.  We do that at our peril.

Of course God is all-loving, but He also is all-just...all-powerful...all-merciful etc. in equal measures.  In His justice, would He give us eternity with killers?  If there ever was a time to read God's love letter and consider His whole is now.

This sad young man may have thought he bought a ticket that would extinguish his unhappy consciousness.  But he is never more alive than he is today.  There is no such thing as annihilation.  People will spend eternity in full consciousness...either with the Lord or in the Lake of Fire.  Jesus said "then they (the unsaved) will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life".

Sin bears an eternal consequence because it is committed against an eternal God.  But God is rich in mercy and made a way for sinners...when He took His wrath against sin out on His own Son.  Rejecting the Son leaves God's wrath to fall on whoever owes sin's debt.  We all are sinners; either Jesus pays or we pay.

Look at these happy, precious faces.  These people are the Holcombe family, just one family affected by the church shooting (plus a family friend, bottom right).  How does any one family sustain such grief?

They all died except the girl in the middle of top row who was shot, but survived.  The lady in the middle of bottom row was pregnant.

In all, twenty-six dear souls went into Jesus' presence Sunday.  Perhaps they all had already surrendered to Jesus as Savior and Lord.  You can bet when they went to church that morning, they had NO IDEA that their time allotment would soon be up.

Now their friends and family are left to grieve for them, as well as distressed strangers from all over our country.  But would any of the twenty-six want a return ticket after what they've seen?

#this world is a staging ground for the next
#hell is real

Monday, September 4, 2017


This is a test.  Know who this famous American is?

*he ran away from home @16
*lived with the Indians three years and spoke fluent Cherokee
*fought in Revolutionary War and War of 1812
*became a lawyer in TN and commanded a TN state militia
*elected Governor of TN
*pled the case for Indians in Washington in full Cherokee gear
*beat a Congressman walking down Pennsylvania Avenue with a hickory cane/high profile trial/represented by Francis Scott Key/convicted/given light fine
*moved to territories and never paid the fine
*fought for TX independence from Mexico
*named first/third President of the Republic of Texas
*first TX Senator and then Governor of Texas
*slave holder who opposed abolition and the secession of TX from Union/evicted from office for refusing to take oath of loyalty to the Confederacy (see statement below)

This achiever lived a remarkable life.  He was a soldier, politician, and he also had two legal wives and one common law wife.  Do you know anyone else who was Governor of two different states?  Who was he?

The answer is Sam Houston, the man for whom the flooded city of Houston was named.

Sam Houston had a BIG personna just like Texas.  He was rough around the edges, but when Sam fell in love with...and married his third wife, Sam Houston was gentled.

This is pretty Margaret Houston from Alabama.  She was 21 and he was 47 when they married.  No wonder the honorary Cherokee named "Black Raven" fell for her.  They went on to have eight children who were born between his 51st-68th year.

It was Margaret who convinced Houston to give up drinking and consider Jesus.  She whispered in his ear for fourteen years before his conversion and baptism.

The Lord gave us baptism and communion to point to Him and help us remember Him.  As a person goes under the baptismal waters, they are "play acting" a spiritual truth that has already been accomplished.  In front of friends who know them, the one being baptized portrays their death to self and being raised to a newness of life.

Mr. Sam was no exception.  When he came up out of the waters, he was declaring to witnesses (of whom there were MANY there that day) that he had turned his back on a lifetime of self-direction and was now turning toward Jesus.

We can imagine that because Sam Houston was such a ruffian...and a huge public figure...people came from miles away to see his baptism.  Some mischievous kids had put sticks and mud in the baptismal pool, so they quickly had to relocate it to Little Rocky Creek just south of College Station. The wind was whipping on that cold November Day.

Rufus Columbus Burleson was Houston's pastor who  baptized him, but there were two other pastors (Morrell and Baines) who were there because they had played a part in his conversion.  George Washington Baines had been Sam's former pastor and was the great-grandfather of President Lyndon Baines Johnson.  After he was baptized, one of his friends was heard to say "General, all your sins have been washed away!".  Houston replied "If that be the case, God help the fish downstream!"

Was his conversion true?

Sam Houston's life gave ample evidence.  This former brawler was sorry for his past 61 years of ignoring the Savior.  He was through fighting the English, the Mexicans, the politicians, and his own sin.  He gave up the bottle and exchanged his name "The Big Drunk" for the name "Christian".  He gave freely to the cause of Christ...paying half of his pastor's salary and giving generously to Baylor University.

Sam Houston's future totally changed when he met the Savior. One day it will be an honor to meet him.

After Sam Houston was evicted from the TX Governor's office, he went to Galveston where Texans demanded to know why he would not support the Confederacy.  Here are his words:
"Let me tell you what is coming.  After the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure and hundreds of thousands of lives, you may win Southern independence if God be not against you, but I doubt it.  I tell you that, while I believe with you in the doctrine of states rights, the North is determined to preserve this Union.  They are not a fiery, impulsive people as you are, for they live in colder climates.  But when they begin to move in a given direction, they move with the steady momentum and perseverance of a mighty avalanche; and what I fear is, they will overwhelm the South."