Bedbugs . . .

When I was a kid, my family was much like the TV series of the rural, mountain family, “The Walton’s.” We, too were a large country family. Each week the Walton’s program would end with everyone tucked in their beds calling out their good-nights to each other, “Good night grandpa, good night grandma, good night, John Boy!” We had the same ritual and invariably someone would call out, “Good night, don’t let the bedbugs bite.” We would all chuckle, but had no clue what it actually meant.

Some of my apartment managers have called in over the past year to report the discovery of a few cases of bedbugs on their property. The first case was an older couple of residents in the Austin area. The pest control vendor inspected their apartments and verified the presence of bedbugs in their apartments. As it unfolded, the pair had ridden a bus to the Louisiana border and spent a weekend at a casino hotel, and brought the bedbugs home with them. The cost to treat the apartment was about $800 per apartment.

As I researched the matter, I learned that bedbugs must have a host . . . they are hitchhikers. They simply are unable to cross a field and just show up. There had been a problem in the US early in the 20th century, but the bedbugs were pretty much eliminated here, but it continued to be a problem across Europe. That is now changing and bedbugs have been making a huge recovery in the USA over recent years.

Now, we have reports of some infestations in West Texas. The cost of a licensed pest control operator treatment is about $1,200 per dwelling. We did some research and discovered that the most effective treatment for bedbugs is with a ambient heating system. I purchased such a system out of L.A. this morning.

My pal, Bobby Albin, told me that the library in the engineering building at Texas A & M is infested with bedbugs. It seems that some dude donated a number of engineering books (canvas binding), which were infested with bedbugs. I laughed and related the story to Chris. He chuckled and said, “I bet the sorry dog that donated those books was from UT!”

Never buy used furniture, bedding, books, or used clothing without a thorough inspection. Saving a little money on the purchase just might include a large pest control bill. Carefully inspect motel/hotel rooms prior to settling in for the night.

Good night . . . Don’t let the bedbugs bite! They are out there . . .

How to inspect a bed for bedbugs:

An Old Bromide that Still applies Today . . .

The 2016 Presidential election has been brutal, and even after it has run its course and a President has been elected and the Inauguration held, craziness still plays out in the streets of several urban centers. It is almost beyond comprehension for intelligent people to even understand. For the past eight years, we had a President that was troubling to say the least. He publicly claimed to be a Christian, but at the same time worked tirelessly toward the moral decay of the nation. He championed causes such as same-sex marriage, transgendered public restrooms, and abortion at any stage of pregnancy. His political party proposed the removal of the phrase “under God” from the pledge of allegiance, and the removal of “In God We Trust” from our currency. Moreover, one of his favorite organizations, Planned Parenthood, was even discovered to be salvaging parts of unborn babies in late-term abortions and selling those parts on the black market seemingly for stem-cell research. When that discovery became public information, the President and his political appointees at the Department of Justice defended the organization, while condemning the investigators who exposed the frightful situation.

It has long been said that history repeats itself. Along with that it has also be said that we don’t learn much from history. I enjoy studying the Old Testament, more specifically I enjoy studying the Nation of Israel and her history. It is in that history, I see the character of God revealed and His expectation for His people. In that history, I see my own spiritual history, and the history of the New Testament Church.

In Genesis God called a man named Abram to come walk with Him . . . to live in relationship with Him. Abram answered that call and God entered into a covenant relationship with that man. God told him that one day he would have many descendants and they would dwell in a special place . . . which God called the Promised Land. The Book of Joshua reveals those descendants entering into and taking possession of the land. As the national leader, Joshua nears the end of his life on earth, he calls the descendants together and reminds them that the Lord had been good to them and that they were in a covenant relationship with the Lord. He also cautioned them about the consequences for straying from the covenant. The people vowed to serve the Lord all of the days of their lives. The people were happy and healthy, and filled with expectation and exuberance.

Yet, we learn as the book of Judges opens that in one generation’s time, the people are far from God and the Covenant relationship. They have not expelled the inhabitants they were told to expel and they had failed to teach their children about God and His ways. In fact, Judges 2 tells us the next generation was ignorant about God. I fear that we in the USA are fast approaching a similar place.

Where is the USA at this moment in history? The book of Isiah opens with the Prophet outlining three steps that outline the downfall of a nation, which are:

1. Spiritual apostasy;

2. Moral awfulness; and

3. Political anarchy

These steps have been the destruction of numerous nations throughout history. You might argue that both Judges and Isaiah come from ancient literature, written at a time when the world was far different that it is today, and thus not something related to our situation. I would argue that people are the same today as they were back then.

General Douglas MacArthur during a speech in 1951 said, “In this day of gathering storms, as moral deterioration of political power spreads its growing infection, it is essential that every spiritual force be mobilized to defend and preserve the religious base upon which this nation was founded; for it has been that base which has been the motivating impulse to our moral and national growth.” General Douglas MacArthur also said during a speech in 1951, “History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual reawakening to overcome the moral lapse or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.”

The great old General was not known for being a man with strong religious commitments, but he was a serious student of history and could read the signs of the times. He gave this speech almost three-quarters of a century ago.

It seems to Me . . . that it is even more true today!


A Man’s Gotta Do What a Man’s Gotta Do . . .

It was in the early hours of the morning, the couple was alone on their 36-foot sailboat out in the Gulf of Mexico, caught a violent storm. As the crow flies, they were only a few miles from New Orleans, but in terms of safety, they were far, far away. Over recent hours it had rained about 10 inches and the mighty Mississippi River was raging and dumping its flood waters into the Gulf, and that was precisely where the couple was. Suddenly, something shook the boat and instantly the vessel was flipped upside down. The lady discovered that she was all alone in the dark water, trapped inside the boat. Frantically, she thought of her family and later recalled thinking, “Here I am dying at sea doing something stupid, when I ought to be home with the people I love.” Then, in the middle of all that dark, a small light instantly appeared, and a hand grabbed her and pulled her. It has her husband who had escaped the cabin when the boat rolled over. He drove fearlessly back into the raging sea and found the cabin door and reentered the vessel to find his wife. He pulled her out of the cabin and led her up to the surface. Once there, he assisted her using in a rope sling/devise he had rigged up to the keel and allowed them to swing from the keel and float. The vessel’s bottom was unsafe to be crawled upon or sat upon due to the barnacles attached. Crawling up onto the vessel’s bottom (which was now the top) would have cut their skin and caused them to bleed. Everyone knows that fresh blood in the water is like ringing the dinner bell for sharks.

As she clung to the keel as the boat was being tossed about in the storm, she trembled thinking of how close death had been and his daring concern for her. As she related the story to me, she paused and said, “I cannot even imagine a woman in history having ever loved, adored, or appreciate her husband more than I did him at that moment. As I hung there, I praised him . . . thanked him over and over . . . and vowed my eternal love.” He was a strong, silent sort of a man, so he was a bit embarrassed by all of her praise. A few hours later they were rescued by a crew on a passing barge. Once they were safely onboard the tug boat, they were shown to the shower room where they could clean up and they were each given a jump suit and coat to wear. As they waited for the Coast Guard to come rescue them from the barge, they were provided with a warm meal.

When the Coast Guard arrived and everyone gathered in the large tug boat’s galley to interview the couple, she opened up about his bravery and daring rescue. He bowed his head slightly and the folks in the room began to clap for his good deed. Slowly, he smiled and pointed down to her wrist. The folks in the room paused. He said, “She was wearing a brand new Rolex watch . . . I had to go get her!”

A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do!

The 10 / 80 / 10 Rule . . .

I listened to Football-great Jim Brown speak out on John Lewis and his fellow Democratic congressional collogues who are boycotting the Inauguration. He called them out on it and said they had an obligation to participate in the process . . . not for the sake of the President-elect but for the sake of the Nation and the office of the President . . . which is greater than them or Trump.

I have never heard him speak out on such issues. He’s certainly not a bastion of consecutive beliefs.

For years in my seminars I have taught what I refer to as the 10/80/10 Rule. I clearly see it in the present debate about those who are bowing out on their clear responsibility to attend and participate in the historical event of the new President being sworn into office. Let me explain the 10/80/10 Rule.

In every group, organization, family, and network the members/participants fit into one of three groups, and for the most part, in this fashion:

10% . . . are the backbone of the group. They are the main-stay . . . folks who do what they are supposed to do, and they do it without any prodding or pleading. They step up when there is a need and stay until the task is finished. They encourage others and make them feel good. It really is not so much a matter of what they do . . . it is just who they are.

10% . . . are the hardheaded, contrary, closed-minded folks in the group. They whine, complain, and blame everyone else for everything that doesn’t fit their notion of how things ought to be. They never volunteer to do things, and have to be pleaded with to just do the right thing that needs to be done. This group has been out of step with things pretty much all of their lives. If you could interview their 3rd grade teacher, she would chuckle and tell you story after story. Again, it is just who they are. Every Pastor of a Church knows these folks very well, and are often baffled by them and what they do and say.

Who are the 80%? They are the followers in life. These guys can go either way . . . they are capable of following the leader and either of the 10% groups. It is what happens with these turtles that determines the future of the group or organization.

Let’s apply the theory:

Fact: there are 435 members of the House of Representatives. There are some 48 who have declared their boycott, which is .11034%.

The Point: It seems to Me . . . that you ought to do yourself a favor . . . as well as do the group a favor . . . be part of the good 10% group in all that you do. However, if for some reason you cannot step up, then do both yourself and the group a big favor . . . hit the road, Jack.

Don’t remain in place and hurt the group, organization, or even the Church by being a bad member. Even Jesus, the most loving, kind, and compassionate person to ever walk on this earth said, “Either be hot or cold . . . if you are Lukewarm, I will spew you out.” (Revelation 3:16 . . . . Melton paraphrased).

Wow, that is pretty serious when one makes kind-hearted, loving Jesus sick to His stomach!



The Text Message . . .

Over recent months, my new, preferred method of communication is what is commonly known as the text,

In spite of the danger that things in a text tend to sound like an insinuation, but part of the fun is you never know what is coming next!

I had a text from a dude today that made me scratch my head. But then again, most things the dude does and says has just such an effect.
Today he texted about the woman to whom he had recently wed, but now claims himself as a victim of her neglect.

It wasn’t that long ago he texted to declare he had found the woman of his dreams, and said he was going to ask her hand in matrimony, and declared it was a grand idea.
Of course with this guy, I always suspect that things are never quite what they seem, and today’s announcement was that it had all changed and has now become an ordeal!

So the dude said he had packed his stuff and bought a ticket on a greyhound bus, and said he would be headed for a destination far away,
Said he had had it and was going to end the fuss, the goofy dude thinks he is in high school and believes it is all he has to say.

He doesn’t seem to understand that there are laws governing marriage, and that he can’t just make his own rules as he desires,
This dude views marriage like Obama views the Constitution—with complete disparage, and ignores all of our laws that that office requires.

So six months ago, the rascal actually took the bus and split the scene, his abandoned bride called later to inquire; I could see she was mean. Funniest thing happened last night,
I got a FB friend request from him . . . said he was in Arizona, and leaving was right!

As we chatted on Messenger he told me about his new life; yet, he never once mentioned his dear wife. He said he had kicked off a new ministry . . . teaching relationship classes,
Doing his best to educate the confused masses.

Inauguration Day . . .

Friday, January 20, 2017 . . . the date of the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America. Inauguration Day is the day of the peaceful transfer of power from the out-going President over to the President-elect. I hope and pray that it is, indeed, a peaceful transfer of power, but the truth of the matter is that the nation is at great odds with itself. I don’t suppose that there has ever been a time in history when the nation was more divided except during the Civil War.

Historians for many years to come will debate the question of exactly what caused the great divide. I doubt they will get it right, so I want to leave this message for Ali and Abi and those who might come along behind them (supposing they might have any interest in what I might say).

Back in the 1960s, the culture began to drift away from the principles and values that the nation had been founded upon and which our forefathers had embraced. In that era the music took a serious shift to what came to be known as Rock and Roll, kids began to display respect for authority, recreational drugs became easily obtained on the streets, the highest court in the land handed down some landmark decisions that were directly in opposition to Biblical values, and civil unrest began to manifest itself in racial tensions in the streets, as well as protests of the Vietnam conflict (in which 58,000 American boys were killed).

The nation began to drift away from Biblical values, and like a great ocean liners that has lost its power at sea, is tossed about by the prevailing winds and is in danger of crashing down upon the rocks.

To any willing to see, it was clear that old Lucifer himself was having his way with what had once been a great Christian nation. The educational system became political and corrupt, and began filling young minds with rubbish.

As we continued on the dangerous drift, some confusing things began to occur. What polite society had once restricted to the back streets burst out and broke through the barrier and overtook Main Street, and we lost our shame and began to call peculiar stuff “normal.” Somewhere during the decade closing out the 20th century, there was a great increase in homosexuality, which mental health folks had long described as a form of mental illness. Yet, those mental health professionals held a meeting and agreed that they had been wrong all that time, and announced it as being normal. Soon, there began a movement of folks “coming out of the closet,” wherein they proudly declared themselves as homosexual. Soon after, they began to join together and actively campaign for recognition and seek protection under the law as a “Protected Class.” Hollywood seemingly embraced that lifestyle and began reflecting it as normal, and glorifying those confused folks’ struggle for acceptance.

Then the medical community developed procedures to surgically altar the human body and create male and female parts. Instantly George could become Georgette, and Sally could become Harry.

It was during this time that one Barrack Hussein Obama stepped on to the scene. He was a bi-racial, bi-cultured “community organizer” and became the President of the U. S. Under his influence, the homosexual movement got in the fast track . . . and grew into same-sex marriages and something he called “transgendered public restroom,” which enabled weird people to legally enter public restrooms with young children. The craziest thing about all of this goofy, sinful stuff was that anyone who questioned it, or spoke out against it, suddenly became the evil doer.

The nation began an economic slide in which over taxation, heavy regulatory burdens, and a labor force that constantly pushed for more and more resulted in major employers moving abroad to more favorable environments. Suddenly, Detroit that once great city that had been the producer of automobiles for decades, became pitiful as the auto makers closed up shop and moved operations to Mexico. The once great city soon became a ghetto, filled with out-of-work people and gradually became a place where folks no longer even wanted a job and became content to live on the dole.

It was in this arena that this brash, loud, coarse-talking multi-billionaire tossed his hat into the ring and challenged folks with a challenge of “Make America Great Again.” Millions of voters responded and went to the polls and elected him President.

What will a Trump presidency look like? What will he do? Honestly, I don’t know, but as I sit here this morning, I can’t help but being impressed with the significant signs within the economy that have quickly occurred since the election. The stock market has taken off as investor confidence has risen. Company after company fans stepped into the spotlight to announce investments which they intend to make in the USA, and the American worker . . . a few being the auto makers, manufacturers, foreign & international groups . . . and even IBM who seems to have been in a cocoon since Microsoft and Apple came onto the scene. IBM announced its plans to invest a billion dollars and create 10,000 new jobs as it re-enters the game. His Cabinet nominees are most impressive . . . brilliant and wildly successful people who have lead their own industries with class, honor, and distinction. The majority of those folks are committed Christians who actively live out their Faith.

God Bless America! I hope and pray that some of those good, well-meaning folks can find a way to muzzle the rascal!


The Next Chapter . . .

Transitions and changes are never easy, but they can serve as an opportunity to move beyond what we have known and away from where we have been. That is exactly where we are in the USA in this third week of the New Year (2017).

There was a brutal Presidential election held in November. The two nominees were as different as day and night and served to divide the country bitterly. The Democratic nominee was Hilary Clinton, the wife of former President Bill Clinton. She proved to be a rather poor selection. She had pretty much always been a person of questionable moral character and that was an ever-present issue throughout the campaign. Moreover, her life was always measured with limited success.

Her opponent, the Republican nominee was a flamboyant billionaire that had achieved great success in business. He exhibited a tremendous work ethic and stamina for a man of 70 years; the nominee was Donald J. Trump. He won the election with strong lead in the Electoral College vote. There has been an outcry that she won the popular vote by a large margin, but the truth is that is simply not known to be correct. Let me explain . . . it is clear that she did win the popular vote on Election Day, but that certainly is not the only consideration. There were many other votes that were never counted . . . early votes, mail-in ballots, and the military votes. The truth about those votes is they are more difficult in that they must be counted manually, and are not even counted if there is a clear Electoral College winner on Election Day. The Federal Election Commission says that historically 67% of such ballots are for the Republican nominee. Thus, my point is simply that the claim is unsubstantiated.

Last week the new Congress has been sworn in and has begun holding confirmation hearings for the President-elect’s Cabinet nominees. Those who have been nominated are very impressive and successful individuals. I read that five of the nominees and their families have a combined wealth that would be greater than all of the nations of the world except for the top four nations! I have watched some of the hearings and have been amazed as these wildly successful people, with honor and dignity (e. g. Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon-Mobile and also the national president of the Boy Scouts; and Jeff Sessions) being grilled by people who could not latch their sandals.

Over the past decade, our economy has been sluggish and worrisome, but immediately after the election it seems to have received a shot of steroids and has really heated up. The smart guys say that the election of a savvy businessman who is committed to cutting taxes and eliminating burdening regulations that choke the life out of business are a couple of the reasons. It has been quite impressive to learn of those stepping forward to announce development plans for the immediate future . . . the auto makers, IBM, foreign businesses, etc.

In 2008 we entered into a radical experiment wherein we elected a community organizer from Chicago as the President . . . he was a known socialist with some very peculiar beliefs about the world . . . and how things ought to be. He was elected simply because of his considerable skills as an orator . . . and the color of his skin. It may be years before we are able to determine how great the damage to our culture has been, but we do know that he is leaving us with same sex marriages and transgendered public restrooms . . . and considerable criticism for any who question either or calls it sin.

By and large, the voting public showed a frustration over where we are, where we have been headed, and what is being called normal. They also gave the President a majority in both houses of Congress.

Let’s see what the next chapter looks like.



Where Did You Come From?

A 12-year-old boy entered the family room, where his Dad was reading the newspaper. The boy apologized for interrupting his Dad but said he had a question. The Dad chuckled and said it was okay, and asked about the question that was haunting his son. Nervously the lad asked, “Dad, where did I come from?”

Poor old Dad got a lump in his throat, remembered the experts advice “When they ask . . . tell the truth” . . . so he cleared his throat and explained the birds and the bees to his growing-up son. With a confused look on his face, the boy said, “Thanks Dad” and headed for the door. The Dad asked the boy, “Son, why did you want to know?” The boy said, “Well, Bobby told me he came from Dallas, and I wasn’t sure where I came from!”

This has long been one of my favorite stories so, chuckling about it, I wrote the following poem on that subject:

I was born into a world of sin,
And so was you,
We are all from Adam, so I guess we are kin,
The Bible declares there is hope . . . and birth anew.

Some argue today that the Bible is not true,
And there is no God by whom we were created,
They claim we evolved and act as if they grew
And became what they call better educated.

Genesis says that Paradise didn’t last very long,
That against the Holy God mankind rebelled,
And frankly, that he did wrong,
And from the lovely garden was expelled.

As one looks at mankind’s current situation,
As crime abounds and prisons are filled to the max
It ought not cause much hesitation
To simply agree that original sin is actually a fact.

Some humans seem to think it wise to deny the Creator,
To believe it is wise to claim not to know,
To confuse others and even serve as an agitator
Over things that happened so very long ago.

For me it is easy to accept I am a product of sin,
To look at my life and the path I have walked,
To realize that I do wrong over and over again
And nothing naturally within that even paused or balked.

To know the Bible is true as it depicts my position,
That it accurately describes my heart,
My natural sinful condition,
But to reach out to God . . . is actually very smart!

Dr. Martin Luther King . . .

. . . was a man of strong faith and principle . . . and he used both to peacefully change the world. He was born at a time of darkness and confusion, but was unwilling to sit idle and simply “go along to get along.”

I believe God raises people up for special reasons . . . and I believe He has throughout history (the Bible is replete with accounts of such folks). I believe Dr. King was one such person that the Lord raised up and equipped for that time in history.

The terrible truth is that there were laws (both Federal and state), constraints, barriers, and social norms that denied people of color even the least of human rights and dignities. It was in that darkness that a humble Baptist preacher from the South stepped forward and called a nation to repentance, and as incredible as it might seem, that nation was completely ignorant that there was a need for repentance. He taught his followers that regardless of the injustices they might encounter in their struggle for equality, their objective could never be achieved through force, anger, war, or the ways of the world. He taught the world that human dignity and basic human rights were ordained by God, and that God was no respecter of persons relative to issues such as color or national origin.

Few people throughout history have been as gifted at standing before a crowd and communicating a message as this humble messenger, this Nobel Peace laureate, was. He was masterful at illuminating the injustice of the plight of people of color and the barriers imposed by a wrong-minded culture.

He was gunned down by a madman in Memphis, for nothing more that preaching his convictions and challenging his generation to be better than it was. He delivered a wonderful speech entitled, “I have a Dream.”

After his death, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Medal of Honor. In 1983, President Reagan signed a bill that honored Dr. King by dedicating his birthday as a national holiday.

Have you ever asked yourself the age-old question, “Can one person really make a difference?” I would argue that you need not look much further that this good man’s short life. The truth is that he was born at a time of darkness and was greatly handicapped by his situation and circumstances, but he led a people to overcome!

It is amazing what the Lord can do in a person’s life.


Friday the 13th . . . Bad Luck?

Are you superstitious? If so, why are you?

Did you know that Friday the 13th isn’t universally viewed as being an unlucky day? Nope . . . it isn’t. In Greece, and in most Spanish-speaking countries, the dreaded day is Tuesday the 13th.

But the truth of the matter is that one day is pretty much the same as another. With that being said, I must confess that I believe there are a couple of exceptions, as follows:

The Old Testament Sabbath . . . it was the day which the Lord set aside for the Jewish people to rest. He provided instruction about the day, declaring what was acceptable and what was prohibited. It didn’t take long for people to cause confusion and debate to surround the day . . . something the Lord intended for their well-being.

Sunday . . . the first day of the week. All across the free world, in both cities and villages, folks gather together to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yep, Sunday is Resurrection Day (Luke 24:1). Did you just think that was only done on what we call Easter? Believers are instructed in any number of places in the New Testament to bring the tithes and offerings to the storehouse of the Lord on the first day of the week. I encourage you to do a google search on the First Day of the Week.

Of course, society sets aside some special days such as Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter, and July 4th, on which we celebrate.

We are commanded to live by faith . . . fearing a day as being evil collides with faith-based living.