Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Trip to China

Diane and I left home yesterday afternoon late for Jackson airport, and made it all the way to Carthage, Ms before stopping at a Walmart. 

We stayed at the Ramada in Pearl, Ms Sunday Night.  I learned something on this trip which I should have learned long ago, that is that you can stay at a motel and have them keep your vehicle for $10.00.  That amount plus the room cost is less than parking your vehicle in long term parking, and they will deliver you to the door of the terminal and pick you up from same.  Wow!  Where has that been my whole life?

After taking the motel shuttle to the airport, we had the exciting experience of dealing with the technology challenged, yet highly advanced check in at the United counter in Jackson.   Not sure why counter attendants are needed anymore, except that one continually needs the counter attendant to come swipe a card, apparently having a valid passport and paid up electronic ticket is not enough. :-)

Learned that we could have packed more, but would have needed another day of preparation to determine which twelve additional pounds should have been added.  Diane's profound relief  at discovering our baggage was not over weight was promptly allayed, as she thought of everything she had regrettably left behind, especially her boots when she discovered it is currently snowing in Yanji.

The security check in went well.  However, I must remember in the future to avoid bringing a pocket full of change.  I learned long ago to wear shoes with velcro rather than boots.

We have met an interesting mix of folks in this trip already.  An oil company employee who lives in Vietnam, but works in Russia from Mississippi. The eleventh grade daughter of a pilot trying to get back home without missing another day of school. She is flying standby and oil company employee flies first class.

Arrived in Houston on time and had a filling breakfast, then learned that the flight from Houston to San Francisco had been delayed beyond the time for the departure from San Francisco. Oh well, we might get to go to "Fisherman's Wharf." There is only one flight from San Francisco to Beijing daily apparently. 

I had planned to make a couple of extra stops on this trip, but time and finances prevented that, so perhaps we'll have an extra stop there in the city by the bay.

We arrived in San Francisco at 2:40 PM. Our flight to China was scheduled to leave at 2:50. The flight attendants could not help us get the gate assignment for our trip, but told us a United Airlines Customer Service rep would meet us at the counter when we disembarked from the aircraft. No one was there to assist us and consequently we were unable to locate our gate before the plane left the gate. It could have been frustrating, but we know that God always has a plan in what He does, and while we might not see it for a while we can be confident that we will eventually understand.

We still feel that United's negligence is responsible for the miscue, and we're going to press the issue with them to see if they'll reimburse the cost of the room. They did give us meal vouchers and we purchased some great sandwiches with the vouchers.

Later this evening we traveled to Fisherman's Wharf and enjoyed taking in some of the sights until the rain sent us scurrying back to the motel.

I would be remiss should I neglect to regale you with the exploits of our taxi driver. A baseball enthusiast, and exuberant fan of the San Francisco Giants, he attempted to educate us on

The trip back to the motel was also quite an adventure. The cable cars are not very well marked and one must know where he is going in order to use them. The driver kept saying that he would announce when we arrived at Union Station but none of us could understand what he was saying. He seemed somewhat exasperated by the passengers' continual inquiries. Several of us decided that colleges should teach a course in San Franciscese, since what he was speaking bore little resemblance to English.

At Union Station we boarded the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) and returned to the airport where we caught the shuttle back to the motel.

The BART is basically a subway, but again one could ride for ever without help because the stops are poorly marked & the drivers do not speak clearly. But the trains are clean and fairly comfortable.

Resting in the knowledge that our Father is orchestrating events for His glory, we anxiously await the purpose behind this diversion, and are carefully alert lest me miss a great opportunity.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jesus Is My Hero

Since the advent of Facebook, and other social media, has spawned a proliferation of pithy sayings about life, it was inevitable that more and more such would be posted to give Believers that feel good experience upon which the world thrives.

I’m thankful when I see such posts that folks are thinking about God and His work in their lives and the world at large.  However, one must be careful lest Lordship be replaced with hero worship.

Hero worship is defined as the over adulation of an individual because of his/her position, accomplishments, or talents.  Heroes are people whose lives the worshipers attempt to emulate, or follow based upon external suppositions, and this is where the rub occurs with regard to Jesus as a hero.

Jesus never aspires to hero worship.  Jesus demands that He be Lord of one’s life.  Now “Lordship” in Biblical terms means that He have total control of one’s life.  The true follower of Jesus Christ is not limited to what he/she sees on a movie screen, or hears over a CD.  The true follower of Jesus Christ has a personal intimate witness of who He is living in him.

Throughout time men have attempted to live lives patterned after heroic figures.  Such attempts are doomed from the outset because each individual is intrinsically different physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Jesus does not want those who follow Him to look at His life and attempt to emulate it because He knows the impossibility of such a task.  Rather, He makes a new creation of those who become His and writes on their minds and hearts His plan for their lives.  He has provided Scripture as instruction, and His indwelling Holy Spirit as validation.

Lest you take me wrongly, let me hasten to add that it is proper and right to exalt and praise Jesus.  Social media gives us ample opportunity to do so, but we need be careful that we not denigrate His Lordship while settling for a less than satisfying hero worship.

©           2012           Mike Rasberry

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Why I'm NOT Worried About The Election

I honestly hope President Obama is retired next month.  I believe him to be a liar, manipulator, sluggard, socialist, and a money-grubbing anti-Christian spawn of Satan, who is also an instrument of Holy God.  Now, lest you experience apoplexy, please understand that the President’s opponent is really not much better, he simply has financial and social policies more likely to propel America financially and morally to the high ground.

I believe this president to be the most dangerous person ever to occupy the White House.  The failure of his policies should be the primary concern of every right thinking citizen; on top of which he is even money to return for another four years.  Yet, none of that worries me.  

I’m concerned that my grandchildren might not enjoy the freedom I enjoyed as a child and young adult as more and more policies are implemented to control every aspect of citizenry life.  I’m concerned that those grandchildren might not have the opportunity to develop their talents to the capacity they’re willing to work to attain.   I’m concerned that worship of God will become inhibited to the extent that political correctness police carefully guard against children being “indoctrinated” with God’s Holy Word.  Yet, none of that worries me.

You see, I believe that just as God sent oppressive regimes to bring Israel to her knees, He continues that work even in this age.   We’re told in Scripture that God has the hearts of kings in His hands turning them which ever way He wants, in the same way He changes the course of the meandering river.  I further believe that God continues to raise up peoples to do His bidding, and when those peoples become so full of themselves that even the genuinely true Believers are weak and ineffectual in their lifestyles, He sends oppression upon them in order to drive them to their knees.  Should those Believers not repent and call upon the Lord for deliverance, I believe He will turn them over to their unbelief and raise up another people to do His bidding.

You see, God’s purpose for those He raises up has always been the same.  For Israel, the twofold purpose was to prepare the world for the coming Messiah, and when He arrived to recognize Him as God and King.  Since Jesus’ incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension the twofold purpose of those He has raised up has been to make Him Lord, and prepare the world for His soon return.  Israel failed.  Each succeeding group has also failed.

Romanism became corrupt and split into two corrupt groups.  Following the Reformation, several European nations were raised up as His instrument, but liberal theology and humanistic philosophy destroyed their motivation.  America has continued to take the Good News effectively around the world because, I believe, a remnant remains faithful to Christ even during these heady days of self-indulgence.

However, that group is growing smaller almost daily and faithful saints leave this terrestrial ball to enter eternity with Jesus.  Those remaining seem less and less willing to suffer in order to affect genuine revival and spiritual awakening; thereby turning the American church into a smorgasbord of lite and fluffy whimsy rather than the disciplined, dedicated, and principled power of the past.

Should God bring the ever increasing oppressiveness of governmental intrusion upon the land by retaining President Obama, we can know that America is genuinely at a crossroads between being a useful instrument of His grace, and a castoff stubbornly refusing repentance by those who claim His name.   Should total oppression be necessary, I shall, like Jeremiah of old, continue to cry out for God’s people to repent and turn to God.  This is not a popular position, but I believe, it the prudent position.

©                    2012            Mike Rasberry