Free Kindle Books

The three volumes of the Kip Series will be free Friday, Jan 24.  The second in the series did get a recent rating of four stars so you might like to read all three of them.  Each volume is rather short so it won’t take long to read all three.

To order, you can log onto Amazon and search for the books Kip – The Optimist, Kip -The Realist or Kip – The Pessimist.  It might be easier to search for “Ben Rhodes”, though you just might find a bunch of books by other authors in which you’d have no interest.  Finally, you can just enter this in the search box:

http://www.amazon.com/author/story_teller

It will take you right to my Author’s page.  The advantage of this method is that you just might find another book or two that you might like to read.

In the series Kip is a detective working for San Diego.  Because of what all he has seen he has a difficult time believing in God.  His disbelief is somewhat increased as the result of some of the events in volume one.  It turns him from an optimist to a realist.  Then, of course, things really get bad in the second volume.  He has decided that if there is a God, that he hates Him for permitting such things.  In the third volume… well I’ll let you find out on your own.

If you enjoy the books, be sure and tell your friends and neighbors.  If not, never mind.  Either way, please tell me at Kaay@att.net.  Please keep your comments brief and reasonable.  If you spot any glaring errors, please let me know.

Thank you for reading the books and thank you for your comments.

King James Version

I had a short small chuckle when I saw a bumper sticker that said something to the affect… if it’s not King James, then it’s not the Bible.

To be sure, it is a serious subject.  Nonetheless, the foolishness of such a statement is easy to see.  Even so, in a way, I can kind identify with it.

Now that might sound like a bunch of mambo-jumbo, to be sure a conflict in ideas.  First, for those few who don’t realize the error, let me explain.

  1. The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek. Certainly the Israelites studied what we call the Old Testament for centuries and it was completely valid.  Then, for a few centuries, the Christian Church studied the scriptures in both Greek and Hebrew.  That was, and is today valid.  In fact, for those able to read and understand the original language, it is likely an advantage.  I certainly wished I could read the original.
  2. The King James was written in a dialogue that most of us would have a difficult time understanding. Since it made its way on the scene, many of the words have changed meaning.  Many of the words are simply archaic.  It would be far better to read a translation that is more current, provided it is accurate.
  3. The original King James is not completely accurate. For instance, it translates the  commandant, as “Thou shalt not kill.”  It is almost unanimous among the experts that it should have been “Thou shalt not murder.”  Granted it is a small difference, but it has misled uncounted millions to use the commandant as a reason for not going to war.  Indeed, the scriptures speak of killing many times, but never does it justify murder.

Now that I have so badly ridiculed the translation, let me explain how the person with the bumper sticker had his heart in the right place.  Nowadays, there are many translations, some not so good.  Some suggest or outright say that God is female.  I do not want to consider stepping into eternity with that concept.

Too be sure, it is the modern concept of religion to accept beliefs a-la-carte.  They accept this belief while rejecting others.  Take for instance, Pelosi, as well as most democrats.  She said, as a Catholic, she learned not to hate.  Then, she allows, even encourages abortion.  Moreover, what she said was a lie and most of us know it.  She hates the president so much that she has permitted her time as Speaker to be an abject failure.  Mostly, her only accomplishment has been to impeach POTUS.

The scriptures were never intended as something to select from as on a holy buffet line.  It is akin to creating one’s own religion.  Of course, when a person makes up their own religion, it does have advantages.  However, all those advantages have an end.

In such situations, I am reminded of the passage, an illustration of a man who cuts down a tree.  Half of it he uses in a fire to keep warm.  The other half, he carves into an idol.  Then the man bows down to the idol and prays to it.  Have you ever heard of anything so ludicrous.

Of course, modern man does not make idols like that.  Well that’s not true.  A short trip through Asia will verify that there are still people in this world that expect help from things that cannot help them.  They are just a ridiculous as the idol the man carved from the tree.  Yet, I risk the anger of those who read this.  To them, I am committing a horrible sacrilege.  To them, I am being inconsiderate.

I ask.  Which is more horrible, to present the truth or allow people to continue to believe the lies?  Of course, if there is no God, it makes no difference.  There is no reason for me to rain on their parade.  It all rides on the one question.  Is there a God and who is he.  The question is important enough that we all should consider it.

When Pelosi’s heart beats its last, when she takes last breath and she comes face-to-face with her maker, she just might have some explaining to do.  To be sure, I will have to cough up a few explanations too.  However, she is going to have to explain the death, the outright murder of millions of babies under her watch.  Somehow, I think that will more than singe the locks on her head.

By the way, I prefer the New King James translation.  However, I am sure there are two or three other translations that are good.  Most of all, let’s not practice our religion a-la-carte.  That is even worse than not believing in God at all.  It gives Christianity a bad rap.

Odd as It May Seem

A number of years after I was saved, I came across the passage in the Bible where Jesus healed 10 lepers.  One returned to thank Him.  Jesus asked were there not ten.  Where are the other 9?

Since that day, I tried to make sure I thanked God for what he has provided for us, though I must admit I did have some problems being thankful for the rain on cold nights when I walked a post on guard duty.  Indeed, I had a hard time thinking of just how much we humans need rain.

I also try to remind others to be thankful, even when their baseball game gets rained out or when the camping trip is ruined by the sudden deluge.  If that farmer doesn’t get that rain, he can’t feed us.  Moreover, the water from those rains is used in uncountable other ways, including manufacturing.  It is a small matter that our lives are disturbed for the short term, even if the rain becomes a little heavy.  Naturally, the rain can become a disaster.  Floods can be devastating.

My eyes have been opened to something else for which we should be thankful.  To be sure, to most, it will seem odd.  To be sure, God disciplines His children.  It hardly seems probable that a person should say, “Thanks God.  I needed that.”  Yet we should be grateful to him for His chastisement.   If He didn’t, how much more would we would go astray.  It would be bad for us and everyone around us.

We, as humans, even punish our dogs, knowing it is for their benefit.  To be sure, we chastise them when they run into the street, that is, unless we hate them and hope they get run over.  We punish our children when they decide to put their fingers on a hot stove or into the electrical outlet.  It is not because we hate them.  It is not because we take pleasure in it.  It is far easier to ignore them.

Through their childhood, we tell our children “No,” when they ask to do things that might lead to their harm.  Certainly, it is far easier to say yes and just hope for the best.

So, maybe, the next time you think God is punishing you, You just might say “Thank you.”  You might say, “I appreciate that.”  Conceivably, you just might even say, “I needed that.”  Even if you don’t mean it, it is still the right thing to do.  Eventually, it just might change your point of view.  It has already changed mine.

Two’s a Crowd

My wife and I had just sat down to eat.  We were in a fast food place.  I won’t mention any names.  It makes no difference anyway.

Suddenly, I was glad we didn’t arrive five minutes later.  Two busses pulled up.  Likely somewhere around a hundred or so people came pouring out of the buses and into the restaurant.

In this case, I say two is a crowd.  That is to say, two buses.

The thought came to mind; what if it were a hundred buses…5000 hungry people.  Just how long would it take for a McDonald’s or Burger King to feed a crowd like that?

Yet, Jesus fed 5000 and it likely didn’t take but around a half an hour.  When we read or hear of the biblical passage, most of us look at the miracle of the food quantity and few think about the logistics.

Yet the Bible makes it quite clear how Jesus did it.  He was very methodical about it.  First Jesus had the people sit in groups of fifty.  After blessing the food, He distributed it to His disciples.  Then, the disciples distributed the food to someone each group.  Finally, the food was distributed the food with the group.

You can do the math yourself.  Each disciple only needed to distribute to five or less groups.  (50 divided by 12 is less than 5)  It would only stand to reason that whoever received the food distributed the food to seven or eight groups within the group.

Slightly, hidden within the miracle is an important object lesson.  Jesus often refers to the Word of God as bread.  It only stands to reason that if we distribute it the same way as when Jesus fed the 5000, it would not take long before it would be distributed throughout the world.

I don’t know why, but God decided to use us to distribute the Gospel.  Unfortunately, we don’t do so good a job of it.  Certainly, I am more guilty than most.  It is just so easy to let the other person do it all.  Moreover, it is so easy to think of excuses.  I know.  I have as list as long as my arm.

The Problems with Tyrants

“From each according to his ability, to each according to each according to his need.”  Many attribute the above quote to the Bible.  It shows how little they know about the Bible.  It also shows that they don’t have much knowledge of history.  The quote is from Karl Marx in 1875.  It is part of his concept of communism.  It was part of his plan for world wide paradise.

Since then, it has been tried many times without success.  In the USSR it was tried, failed and then modified. The government that the Soviet Union lived under was not communism.  Quickly, they realized that true communism won’t work.

To fix the problem, they came up with a leader, a tyrant.  Then China tried communism and, again, they modified it.  They appointed a leader who was, believe it or not, a tyrant.  Cuba tried communism.  Again, their leader was a tyrant.

Have you noticed the pattern?  To make communism work, it takes a leader.  Invariably, the leader must be a tyrant.  Even then, it doesn’t work.  Central government doesn’t work.  It is horribly inefficient.  People make decisions who are inept.  (as an example, people in one location is oversupplied [resulting in spoiled food] while in other locations people starve.)  People who are lazy don’t work without taskmasters.  Why should they?  They don’t receive any reward for their efforts.  If they do nothing, they still get their share.  Finally, the tyrants ride in limos and private jets while the rest of the population walk or ride in horse carts.  The tyrants eat caviar while the public has a meager diet of beans and, if they are lucky, a little bread.

It is exactly what the dems complain about in the US. Yet most of us have healthy diets, a roof over our heads and even air-conditioning.  Then again, I guess there isn’t much need for air-conditioning in Moscow.

I guess that the communism might stand halfway succeed as capitalism if the leader were a good person.  The problem is that tyrants are tyrants.  The only people they think about are themselves and a small circle of those around them.  If you have any doubts about what I am writing about, ask those in North Korea.

Oh.  Yest that’s right.  You can’t.  The tyrant running the country won’t let you.

If someone tells you how wonderful socialism works, you might want to consider the above.  You might want to think about how well it is working in Venezuela (also ruled by a tyrant).  You might want to ask them to name one country where socialism works.

You might also think about how well Obama Care has worked here.  I’m not sure this country will ever recover from that one.  I know I won’t.

Outside Voter Influence

The Dems are all in an uproar over the Russians trying to influence our election.  First, it’s not new.  It is an effort that started with Stalin.

Second, they  are not the only ones.  The Chinese raised tariffs aimed at farmers that voted for Trump.  They haven’t said as much, but it is sort of obvious.  The Mexicans have been trying to retake the southwest every since the Alamo.  Moreover, it is no secret.  They said it publicly.

Actually, it’s not just the outside influence.  The Dems have been the main cheering section for first the Soviets, and now the Chinese.  They are helping the Mexicans every day and they don’t seem to care who knows it.

Those who call themselves journalists are right in there helping any foreigner they can find who will weaken the Republicans, even if it causes harm to the US.  They don’t much care what country they come from.

Personally, I believe it should be a felony to accept money from outside the United States in any election, I don’t care what country it comes from.  If it is proved beyond a reasonable doubt, those using the funds should be thrown in prison and he should be removed from office.

I only wished it could be so for funds coming from other states as well.  I suspect that if our founding fathers foresaw such a possibility, they would have tried to put something in the constitution to disallow it.  After all, whey should multi-millionaires in New York or California have anything to say about what goes on in Alabama or Arkansas.  People in their own state ought to have their own say  It is sort of the reason they included the Tenth Amendment.

Many years ago, the Mississippi Assembly decided to make it legal to have gambling casinos.  There was one requirement.  They had to get the permission of the county by popular vote.  Twice, Desoto County voted it down.

There was, to say the least, a big battle that ensued prior to each vote.  Millions of dollars came in from out of state, mostly from Memphis.  (Now I ask you, is it right for people who live in Memphis to decide gambling in Desoto County?)  Some came from New York and some from other places.

Memphis, by default had the big guns in advertising.  They had three TV stations and I have no idea how many radio stations that broadcast into Desoto county.  Much of it was straight forward advertising, but much of it was personal opinion passed in something of a casual way by many of the anchors.  Their attitude was, why not vote to allow gambling.  It is the fix-all for everything.

Those that apposed the gambling had very little money.  They certainly couldn’t afford the TV adds and radio was expensive too.  Mostly, it was word of mouth, churches and a few small organizations.  I feared the outcome.  To me, it looked like they were just going steam roll in here and set up shop.

What really angered me was that the mayors and councilmen got in the act.  The school teachers were telling about how wonderful the gambling would be.  These people were supposed to be representing the people, but it was obvious they had no idea what the people wanted…or worse, they were self serving.

Those that were for the gambling outspent those against it by more than ten to one, yet it was defeated by two thirds of the voters.  They told the outsiders, “We don’t want it!  We don’t want any part of it!”

…and so it was that Tunica County got the gambling instead.  From my observance of how things went in Tunica, I am very happy we rejected it.  The gambling brought everything that we thought it would, crime, corruption and, very likely, organized crime.  By the way, it also resulted in the worst schools in the state  It was the exact opposite of the promise made by the casinos.  The state had to take over the schools because they became so bad.

I don’t know about others, but when outside money comes to my state, I will be very Leary.  I don’t like outside wealth telling me how to vote or what to vote for.  I would suggest that others do the same.  Educate yourself well and guard your vote carefully.  It is very important.

The Cookie Tree

When I was stationed over in Japan, I worked 12 hour days.  When I got home, I wanted to rest.  I had no desire to read to my sons, 6 and 2.  Yet my wife insisted on it.  She gave me a Sesame Street book and said, “Read it.”

So I did.  It was a little book.  I guess it was about 40 pages.  Pictures filled about half of each page.  Yet I had a very difficult time finishing it.  You see, the boys started laughing, which of course, caused me to laugh.  So needless to say, the progress was slow.

The book was about a witch that didn’t want the Cookie Monster getting her cookies off of her tree, the one that grew cookies.  So she cast a spell on the tree keeping anyone from getting the cookies.  To her dismay, she found out the spell worked so good she was unable to get any of the cookies either, no matter how hard she tugged at them.

Actually, that’s about all I remember of the book.  I’m not even sure of the ending.  This much I am sure of.  I should have read to the boys far more often.  It is one of my great regrets.  Maybe you can learn from it.  Maybe you can get your kids to put down their electronic games for a few minutes each day so that you can read to them.  They just might enjoy it more than the game and you might enjoy it more than they do.  Even as they get older, there are some good books to read to read to them.  (Lassie, Come Home was one of my favorites.  Johnnie Tremain was good too, and patriotic.)

Even more, it just might add to those nice memories you want to hold onto.  Maybe it will help you let go of the bad ones.

As a side note, you might take a lesson from the story about the witch.  You might not want to cast a spell on your cookie tree.