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The Changing Winds of War August 25, 2016 keith

Or, a Hard Day’s Battle
Or, Floundering in the Wind
Or, I should Have Just Stayed Home Today

To the seas! Let’s Go! set sail;
We’re confident, strong,, and unshaken in belief;
With winds of victory, we can’t help but prevail.
Make each enemy fall! Give them grief!

On wings of eagles, full sails race us to land;
Time to march! Take to foot! On the move!
We’re sure footed, with sword and shield to the man.
The day is ours, show them what we have to prove.

The battle line is silent, for a moment perhaps;
The bugle call! A struggle! Sound of clatter and clash.
Then winds of war change. The line breaks in wild collapse

Horses stumble, riders clumsily fail;
Strength and courage melt, like rivers to the sea;
Our strength is chaff in the air, scattered and frail;
Pride is broken. All is lost, run in defeat.

Chased down by the enemy, no more rant, or a rail.
Defeat has come for too many men! O what were we thinking?
Few survivors return, now to the winds! Set sail!
A spark of hope is kindled… Wait! is this boat leaking, and sinking?

Note: inspired in part by:
#DailyPost
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/wind/

Miriam Webster’s #WordOfThe Day
Flounder

Ever Flowing Streams August 13, 2016 keith

But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
–Amos 5:24 (ESV)

Alice was running on raw adrenaline. Her perfect evening had been shattered in ways she never dreamed possible. The twins were to go to visit grandparents, the baby had a sitter, and Hal was due in at the airport. They were going to spend the weekend… well most of it… alone, then start a two week vacation. Instead, Zack had gotten into trouble and it involved the police.

The matter had been cleared up. Zack was in the store, and though he admitted to hanging out with the Baxter boy before they went inside to cool off, all he knew was that his friend wanted him to ride his bike home.

The atmosphere in the car was frigid and gloomy. Except for the baby. Amy was her usual, cheerful, 4 year old self. She sang, and bounced along in the car seat, making up her own words and music. She didn’t use words, as much as hum to herself, and the toneless music didn’t often fit any known rhythm.

“I hope I’m not too late.” Alice said as much to herself as to Zack. “The sitter was supposed to be here an hour ago. And you…” her words were replaced with as long as a glower at her errant son as she dared while driving. “What am I going to do with you.” It was a statement, not a question.

Zack stared at his feet as he mumbled, “Sorry, mom. I’ll get ready for going to grandma’s as quick as I can.”

“Maybe I won’t let you go.” Alice was numb as her mind went into a spiral. “Maybe I’ll just leave you with the sitter, with your sister.”

“Aw, mom,” Zack moaned. “I’m not a baby. Grandpa…”

His words were snapped short. “I don’t want to hear it. Don’t you think that ruining the weekend deserves punishment? We had this planned for the whole family.” She began, “Why should you be rewarded for the kind of stunts you were involved in today.”

Randall looked out the window to see a second car pull in the drive behind his mom.
That must be the sitter. ” he said to himself. “I guess mom can let her know what to do,” and he went back to the new comic book he was reading.

Zack came trudging in. “You better hurry and get dressed.” Randall didn’t even glance up from the comic.

“I don’t have to,” came the voice of a condemned boy. “Mom is making me stay with the sitter.”

It was hard to hear the conversation from down the hall. Muted tones, and muffled snippets. The sitter sounding apologetic, probably for being late herself. Rapid fire words of instruction from mom for the sitter, followed by a clear shout, “Randall! Get your things! It’s time to go!”

Doors slammed, the car was long gone, and Zack sat for an eternity, feeling paralyzed in his room. ‘How do mom’s do it?’ he wondered to himself. It was bad enough that the cops called her about the store. He hadn’t been entirely honest with her. He knew what Ted was going to do, but he didn’t know how to stop him. If that were all, she wouldn’t be nearly as upset with him. Sure, he would still be banned from hanging out with Ted… for ever… but all the rest… She would never have found out. Why did Mrs Chandler have to show up, just when we were leaving?

He didn’t help Ted steal that bike, but he didn’t count on being caught breaking mom’s rules. He was supposed to mow the lawn, but he snuck out of the yard, and left it for Randall. ‘I don’t know why I do stupid things like that,’ Zack said under his breath as he remembered letting the air out of his brother’s bike tires. ‘If it wasn’t for that…’ he let his words and thoughts hang. His mind was a fog. ‘If it wasn’t for that, Randall wouldn’t have had to air them up at the gas station. If it wasn’t for that, he would have been riding through town, instead of running into Officer Baily. If it wasn’t for that, mom wouldn’t have met Mrs Chandler on the way to the car. . That’s when his whole day unravelled.

Mrs Chandler saw him from her kitchen window. Zack wasn’t supposed to be out of the yard, let alone on the other side of town. She saw him in the park, definitely not where he knew mom would let him go without permission, or taking his brother or sister along. Not that any of these were against the law, like stealing a bike. He knew there were chores to do. He knew that dad was coming home. He knew about all the family plans. “What was I thinking?” Zack asked himself to add to the countless other times those words ran through his head tonight. Mom wasn’t making him miss the trip next week, but he had to stay home tonight with the sitter she had for Sissie. How embarrassing.

Zack sat and stewed in his own regrets. He didn’t hear the soft tapping at his bedroom door at first.

“Are you going to come out for dinner?” It was the sitter. Zack’s insides fell in on his empty stomach. “I’ll be right there,” he answered through the closed door. ‘How bad can this bee?” Zack commented, “The night can’t be any worse than it is, why add being hungry to it?”

The instant he stepped into the kitchen, Zack froze. It just got worse.

“You!” came the shout of recognition from the big, blond teenage freight train who had somehow invaded his house. “I told you I’d get you, but I never dreamed it would be as easy as this.”

“Dean!” the girl shot back at her boyfriend. “You’ll go home right now if you don’t settle down.”

It was the couple from the swimming pool who Zack had been teasing. Janet was hired for the night as the sitter.

Zack could only spin on his heal, race for his life to his room, and lock the door behind him. Not that it mattered. Dean didn’t seem as outraged as he was in the park,

“See what you did?” scolded the sitter. “I told you this afternoon the twerp wasn’t worth it. It’s time for dinner, and you go and chase the kid away.”
e
“I wasn’t going to hurt the brat,” Dean defended himself, “Just mess with him a little.” The sound of chairs scuffling, and Dean’s voice getting closer down the hall filled Zack’s ear as he pressed it against the door.

“Come on out kid.” Dean sounded like he was trying to coax out a scared animal, “time for din-din.”

‘Pretty close,’ Zack thought, his words mixing with the raging drumbeat in his head.

“Dean! Leave the kid alone.” Janet’s reprimand worked, and Zack heard Dean as he disappeared back down the hall in mock admonishment. “If you don’t eat your dinner, there won’t be any treats later.”

Zack’s life was falling apart, and he only had himself to blame.

Disclaimer: This has been 100% pure fiction. Any resemblance to a person, place, or event, living or dead, in reality or fiction, is purely coincidental.

Thanks in part to:

WordPress, and the #DailyPost
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/crisis/

Choice of Eternity, Yes or No August 10, 2016 keith

Life is complicated, but it all comes down to choices. Digital. Is a condition met, yes or no? Should I do this, yes or no? There is no other choice.
A condition is met, and the next process is acted on. A condition is not met, and the next process is to loop into something else.

Sometimes a complex choice is presented. Is the answer A, B, or C? The result is still digital. You can only pick one. There is only one condition that is true. All others are false. A loop can be set up to try to meet the condition again, but the false answer still has a consequence, a loop back to try again. The point, even a choice to make no choice, is to choose.

In electronics, a simplified way to look at troubleshooting a circuit is the black box theory. Signal goes in. Stuff happens in the black box of the circuit. Signal comes out.

Is there a soul? Where does it come from? Where does it go? It’s easy to know what happens to our physical body, it dies. It goes away, returning to the earth, never to be seen again.

Counting all of life’s complexity, and our physical life as the black box, Signal, the soul, goes in. Where does it go?

Some people say the soul only exists as part of the physical body. Somehow it goes into the black box, but when the box stops, the soul returns to the source, the earth?

Others believe the source of the soul is a higher power, God. If that’s the case, the soul leaves the body and returns to the source.

Wait. Does that mean that all people go to heaven, and enjoy a life of bliss as they return to the source of the soul?

Let’s return to that complex thing we call life. If we were all robots, or an unthinking set of programmed software, where there are no real decisions, but rather filtering conditions through a preset set of code, then yes. Our decisions would be a reaction to a circumstance. Truth tables strictly adhered to, and all false conditions disregarded. Unthinking, unemotional.

Is that what life is? No. Humans are highly emotional, sometimes irrational, and prone to making poor choices. Learning can come from applying truth as learned from others, or from experience. Success generally comes hand in hand with failure.

What do we do with choices? Are some good, and others bad? How do we tell? That’s a good topic for another time.

To be brief, we have books like the bible, God’s word, to explain what good and evil is. It tells us there isn’t one place, but two places that souls end up. The determining factor is what we choose about God.

Digital. Two places, depending on what we choose in the black box. Those choosing evil go to an eternal dark place of torment. Those choosing good, go to an eternal place of light, and bliss.

A no brainer, right? Who doesn’t want good things? Who would actually choose an eternal existence of torment?

The trouble is that people don’t recognize the choice. There is really one. Digital. To choose it, or reject it. There is no other choice. To not choose, is to reject it.

It isn’t a matter of discipline following complex laws. It isn’t a giant score card in the sky where having one extra good deed will out weigh the bad deeds. It isn’t really about living a life of kindness, or in living a life filled with evil choices.

The choice. Love God.

People make mistakes. We do it so well. Do you love God? Not just say you do, but in all honesty, love him from the heart? You know whether you do, or not. God knows it too. He has love that will forgive the most evil person, if they can find it in them to love God from the heart?

Do you do kind things, good deeds to your fellow man, but somehow you really don’t love God? You’re a pretender, a play actor, racking up smilie faces on that score card in the sky. Hoping your own efforts will win you a seat at God’s table? You do things for your self satisfaction, for pride, but there’s no love for God in your heart. You can deny it to me, but secretly, you know. God knows too.

The choice, the rejection of God, the indifference towards God, the slapping a new label of good onto an evil thing, the masking a favorite sin and calling it normal, the self deceptions that we tell ourselves. It’s all the same. Instead of feeling shame at the deed, we take pride in it and embrace it. People say they want change, but what they want is for others to change, and be dragged down with them. The more the merrier, right? If everybody is corrupt, then corrupt is the new norm, and therefore it’s good. right?

Actually, no. It only means that more people have fallen for a lie.

The choice. Love God. Even if the lie has drawn a person into evil, God forgives. He still loves. Does humility and shame cause you to cringe, and seek his forgiveness? He still loves you, do you love him?

Digital. Sin keeps us apart from God. It doesn’t have to. The way we choose, to love him, or to reject him, determines the path our soul goes next on the journey in the life that comes next. Whatever it may be, there is no coming back for a redo. Whatever it may include depends on one choice. Do you love God, yes or no?

Out of the Rebellious Woods August 5, 2016 keith

Alice’s heart was breaking. The tears still welling up. Her head felt as though it were fed by bubbling springs. The matter in the police station was able to be cleared up, at least for Randall, but Zack had some serious explaining to do. Where was that child? Hal was to begin his vacation. He finally had a full two weeks coming to him, and before the family could even start their trip, a dark cloud hovered over it all.

“Sorry about the mix up, Mrs Pruett,” the police officer said. “I hope you can forgive us, son.” The statement was directed to Randall. “I can see how it happened, and how the mix up must have made you feel. I hope you understand how it looked from my perspective.”

“It happens all the time,”
Randall was polite about it. “Zack is always getting confused with me. I just wish he…”

His words were left hanging in the awkward moment, until Alice commented, “You were just doing your job officer Bailey. I still can’t believe Zack could be involved. He can get himself into trouble, but this isn’t like him.”

“When Zack comes home,” the police officer began, “we’ll want to question him. I hope you understand Mrs Pruett.”

“Don’t worry officer, I’ll call you,” Alice felt disconnected in her dutiful response.

“Mom, can I go home now?” Randal was already astride his bike. “Go on, honey,” Alice said. “Get cleaned up for tonight. I’ll drive around town to see if I can find your brother.”

And if the sitter gets there before I get back, let her in. I’ll give instructions when I get home”Alice added as she called to the disappearing back of her son. Randall gave a parting wave to let her know she was heard.

Back at the house, Randall put his bike away, and was surprised to find a bike parked in the yard. It wasn’t a new bike, like the one that was stolen from the store, but it wasn’t Zacks.

In the house he went to his room, and had to take a step back to see Zack lounging in the living room.

“Where have you been?” Asked Randal.

“Don’t worry,” Zack started, “I’ll mow the grass for you next week.”

“If you live that long.” Replied Randall.

“Hey, don’t take it so hard. I mean it, I’ll” Zack was cut short.

“Forget about the lawn, I’d be worried about mom when she gets home. She’s a lot more upset with you than I am.” Randall left his twin behind as he began getting ready for a shower.

“What,” Zack was defiant. “Mom’s mad at me for not doing my chores?”

“You don’t have to explain yourself to me. I don’t want to know. was the flat response. Randall had to try his best to keep his emotions in check, and let his mom surprise Zack. It was what she wanted to do, surprise him, but Zack had no clue how he had turned the whole thing around. He would be surprised alright, but not in the good way mom and dad had planned.

Randall was back in his room when he heard the car pull up. He called out for his brother, who hadn’t budged, and still had his full attention on the television set, “Mom’s home. You might want to get off your butt, and go meet her outside.”

Zack was basking in the cool air conditioning, and still collapsed on the couch. “Who died, and made you boss?” He called back, but he also knew Randall wasn’t acting like his usual self. As he dragged himself outside. He wasn’t prepared for what came next.

“Zack! Get in this car. Right now!” Zack felt his insides melt. His mom had fire in her eyes like he had never seen before.

Disclaimer: This is a work of 100% pure fiction. Any resemblance of people, places, or events are purely coincidental.

Word from a Prophet July 29, 2016 keith

An Acrostic

Persecution for doing right, against idols, graven;
put through famine, the desert, fed by ravens.

Rushing fast into certain death, the end remains;
Revelation from God encourages, sustains.

Obedience is rewarded, and the mantle is to pass;
On to another. Relief comes at last.

Power from God, though undeserved;
Protects his weak nation, their cries he heard.

Hosts swarm, and threaten, countless marching feet;
His people have failed, still they’re saved from defeat.

Enemies desire all you own. No, they crave more.
Everything good and pleasant, is about to be lost in war.

The lord says, “Take courage. march with your small band.”
Take heart, the enemies boasts fall prey to his strong hand.

In victory mercy is extended by man, fears soon forgot, with compromise and deals.
It’s injustice when evil hearts haven’t changed; God’s will won’t be repealed.

Corrupt kings never realize ‘God’s power, they think small.
Committing your will to his is what he asks, that is all.

Inspired by 1 Kings 19-20

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