About ME

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Mansfield, Texas, United States
Mr. E is a Christian, Husband, Father of 2, former Army Officer and Texas Rangers Baseball fan.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Things I Didn't Learn in Sunday School -- Part 2

Here are 5 more interesting stories or revelations that I learned during my years of personal Bible study, that somehow overlooked my Sunday School teachers...

#6. I Kings 19:19-21 -- Did you know that the prophet Elisha (the one who cursed the kids for calling him a bald head), used to be a rich man before he became a prophet of God? According to I Kings, Elisha was a wealthy farmer, as indicated by the fact that, "He was plowing with 12 yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair." To be able to plow your fields with that many oxen, required a substantial amount of money. Despite the money, Elisha gave it all up to do the work of the LORD. To show his strong commitment to following God, Elisha, "took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people." With that act, Elisha sacrificed any chance at returning to his old way of life. It would be the equivalent of Donald Trump giving up all his properties and wealth to become a preacher today.

# 7. Genesis 12:13 & 20:2 -- Abraham did what? Yes, he did! Not just once but twice, Abraham lied about being married to his wife in order to protect his own interest. Both times Abraham told someone else that his wife Sarah, was his sister, and he gave her away to someone else because he was afraid that he would not be killed because of her beauty. The first incident was when he was Abram. Abram had gone to Egypt because of a famine. "As he was about to enter Egypt he said to his wife Sarai, 'I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' Then they will kill me but you will live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for you sake and my life will be spared because of you." He then gave his wife up to become part of Pharaoh's household. Just like Abram predicted, he was given lots of special favors from Pharaoh. Then God brought about serious diseases upon Pharaoh's household, and an angry Pharaoh chastised Abram, gave Sarai back to him and sent him on his way. Later, after God changed their names to Abraham and Sarah, Abraham did it again!! Afraid of King Abimelech of Gerar might do to him, because of his wife's beauty, he once again lied and called Sarah his sister and gave her up to become another wife of King Abimelech. Lucky for Sarah, God informed King Abimelech, in a dream, of Abraham's lies and the situation was rectified. Sarah must have really loved Abraham to let him get away with that kind of behavior. My wife would have left me after the first incident!

#8. Jonah, Chapter 4 -- You mean there's another chapter to Jonah? All the stories I had ever heard about Jonah ended with the citizens of Nineveh hearing the words of Jonah and repenting to follow God. I never knew that Jonah was not OK with all of this. I thought Jonah was just as happy as God that Nineveh repented, but I was wrong. Jonah 4:1 says, "But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry." In verse 3 Jonah says to God, "Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live." What kind of ungrateful man he was. After God spared his life for running away from God's mission for him, and getting him out of the belly of a fish for 3 days and nights, Jonah still resented the fact he had to go and speak the good news of God to the people of Nineveh. I never learned that in Sunday School.

#9. Hosea 3:1 -- The prophet Hosea had a cheating wife. Rather than divorce her, as many good Christian men would do with their cheating wives today, Hosea reconciled with her. In Hosea's own words, "The LORD said to me, 'Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites..." Hosea was told by God to model the LORD's love for His people by showing forgiveness to his own wife. Hmmm, sounds like a lesson some of us Christians today may need to take head to.

#10. Numbers 11:19-20 -- A fairly gross story...After receiving all the laws of the LORD at Mt. Sinai, the Israelites are finally on their way to the promised land. Not long afterwards they start to whine and complain again. This time about what they God is giving them to eat. They wail that all they eat is manna and "If we only had meat to eat! (v. 4). Angry at their open defiance, God decides to teach them a lesson. He gives them meat (quail to be exact). He also tells them, through Moses, "You will not just eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, but for a whole month -- until it comes out your nostrils and you loathe it." In other words, You want meat, fine! You will eat so much stinkin' meat that you will get so sick of it you will puke it out through your nose.

I hope you enjoy my little tidbits of learning! Please feel free to share any little stories you picked up along the way of your own spiritual journey.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Things I Didn't Learn in Sunday School -- Part 1

I learned many things about God/Jesus and other Bible stories in my years in Sunday School. I learned that Noah built the ark, Moses parted the Red Sea, David killed Goliath with a slingshot, Jesus walked on water and was crucified, Daniel survived a lion's den and Jonah was eaten by a whale! As I started my own personal study of the Bible I found out there was much more to these stories. I even discovered a few stories I did not know about. Here are 5 interesting facts/stories I found on my own:

1) Genesis 3:6 -- Every one knows the story of Adam & Eve, and how Satan in the form of a serpent tempted Eve to eat of the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. But, did you know Adam witness the entire event. At least that what Genesis 3:6 says, "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was there with her, and he ate it". Why didn't Adam kill the snake? Why didn't he interfere and take Eve away from the tree? There goes every one's excuse for blaming the ladies for bringing sin into the world. Eve may have taken the first bite, but it seems Adam was just as much to blame for not protecting his wife as a godly man should have done.

2) Genesis 7:17-24 -- Just how long was Noah on the Ark with his family and all those stinky animals? The Sunday school answer I got was 40 days and nights. Not so!!! If you read Genesis 7:17-24 you will find that Noah was on the ark between 150-190 days. It took 40 days to cover the earth with water (v. 17-23) and then the water covered the earth for 150 days (v. 24). Wow! 150 days couped up with a bunch of stinky animals. Way to go Noah!

3) 1 Samuel 17:16, 51 & 57 -- Sure David killed Goliath, but here are a couple of interesting notes I found. We all know that Goliath taunted the Israelite army. He called them "dogs and cowards." But did you know he did this at least 80 times? 1 Samuel 17:16 says, "For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand." For 40 days straight, day and night, Goliath made the Israelite army quake in their shorts. Not one of God's chosen people, not even the King, Saul, stood up the bully who defied the LORD. It took a young man with a sling and a stone to finally prove the true power of our God. After David killed Goliath, David took Goliath's sword and cut off the giant's head. Upon seeing the head of their champion, the Philistines took off running and the Israelites finally engaged their enemy and soundly defeated them. Now here is where it gets funny...(sort of)...King Saul wanted to know who this young man was who defeated the giant. "As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine (Goliath), Abner (King Saul's main assistant), took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine's head." Not only did David cut off Goliath's head, he apparently toted it around for a while, like a bowling ball, and even took it with him to address the king. Isn't that hilarious?

4) 2 Kings 2:23-25 -- Did you know it might not be a good thing to make fun of a bald man? In 2 Kings 2:23-25, we read a story about the prophet Elisha. As he was traveling to the city Bethel, some kids came out of the town and started to jeer him, calling him, "bald head." Elisha apparently did not take kindly to this show of disrespect to God's prophet, "He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths." That will teach you not to make fun of a bald holy man.

5) Genesis chapter 34 -- Talk about defending your sister's honor. In Genesis chapter 34 we read about the story of Dinah. Dinah was a daughter of Jacob and Leah. Yes, Jacob had a daughter or two other than his, then 11 sons. It seems that there was this fellow named Shechem who seduced Dinah, and they apparently had a little "whoopie" before any marriage vows were exchanged. Needless to say, Jacob was more than a little peeved about the whole "affair." Evidently so were Dinah's 11 brothers. They came up with a plan to get revenge on this man, and his people, for disgracing their sister. They convinced all the males in Shechem's family that they needed to get circumcised, as part of an agreement to let Shechem marry their sister Dinah. Not only did Shechem and his family agree to this procedure, but so did every other male who lived in that city. "Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male." When Jacob found out about this...he scolded them harshly. Their reply to their father, "Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?"

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Junie B. Jones and Calvin & Hobbes

Who is Junie B. Jones, you ask? Well let me tell you! She is one of the funniest fictional characters I have ever read about. Junie B. Jones was created by author, Barbara Park. Junie B. started her adventures in Kindergarten and has now moved on to 1st Grade. My daughter brought home some of the Junie B. Jones books from school, and we started to read them together as a family. Now we own the entire collection. My family and I have laughed out loud at the humor and we have cried at the touching moments that Barbara Park puts into the books. You can't help but love Junie B. Jones. For more information about Junie B. Jones click on picture of the book to go to her official web-site. My family and I anxiously awaits the next book in the series.

As far as Calvin & Hobbes goes...there has never been a funnier comic strip created. At least that's my opinion anyway. Calvin is a young fellow, abt. 7 yrs old, and he has a pet tiger named Hobbes. Well, the tiger is really a stuffed animal that may or may not be alive. Created by Bill Waterson, the Calvin & Hobbes comics is loosely based on the philosophical theories of John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes, as told through the eyes of young Calvin and his stuffed tiger Hobbes. (click here for a cool web-site dedicated to Calvin & Hobbes) Calvin reminds me of my son and how he interacts with the world. Never a dull moment with him. Here is an example of the humor of Bill Waterson... I hope you enjoy it. For more info about Calvin & Hobbes and their books (click here). Click on the comic page to see a larger, readable version.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Happy Constitution Day! (three days late)

Since I was early for my anniversary post, I will be late for Constitution Day. Sunday the 17th was the anniversary of the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. In 1787 some of the founding fathers created our wonderful and powerful government, as we know it now, to guide this great nation. If you wish to learn more about the how our government functions and how it protects our most basic rights, please go to the National Constitution Center's Interactive Constitution Site for an interactive look at our nation's highest legal document. You could also visit the actual National Constitution Center as part of your vacation to historic Philadelphia, PA. Sounds fun to me, but then again I am a History major. Who knows you may finally grow to understand just how this Electoral College thing works after all?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Happy Anniversary!!

Tomorrow (Sept. 19th) is my 15th Wedding Anniversary!! I am writing today because tomorrow will be a busy day and I might not have time to write. 15 Years of ups and downs and I have no problem saying, "I think God has blessed me with the most beautiful and wonderful bride on the planet!" No offense to you other fellas!

I still remember the day we first met. It was in January of 1992. We were both students at Abilene Christian University. I was an active member of Alpha Phi Omega, a National Service Fraternity, and my bride to be was becoming a pledge. The members were wearing all black, I guess to look intimidating, while the prospective pledges wore old shirts and jeans. I happened to be wearing a black cowboy hat and black boots, along with my black jeans and shirt. I was also wearing a large black overcoat that I had from the military. As I passed by the pledges, who were kneeling before us, this cute blond pledge looked up and asked me, "Are you a real cowboy or do you just dress that way?" I think my response was something along the lines of, "Pledges aren't supposed to be talking." But she did catch my attention. Later after all the initiation rituals and activities were over, the members and new pledges went to eat at a local all-night diner. We just happened to sit at the same booth. Her best friend sat in between her and me. During our conversations I reached around her best friend and gave my future bride a little scratch on her shoulder to get her attention. My wife tells me she remembers that little gesture very fondly.

We officially started "dating" later that Spring. By the time summer began I knew that she was the one for me. I asked her to marry me in June. We were married in September. I honestly have to say I love my wife more today than I did the day I married her. We have grown so much over the years and despite a few downs here and there, we are more committed to our marriage now than ever. I make up for our lack of dating time, by taking her out on monthly dates and to Bed and Breakfast twice a year. I still lose my breath when I see her all dressed up. Even when she is not "dressed up," I still can't stop looking at her. She has the most beautiful smile and her eyes sparkle when she laughs; not to mention her sexy legs. She is my best friend, my lover and my soul mate. We share similar dreams and she is the best mother to my children. God has truely blessed me!

Happy Anniversary!! (Does this count as a card?) Just kidding!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Photos of Hurricane Katrina.

According to an e-mail I received, these pictures were taken by a man in Magee, MS, where the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed through. They are fantastic photos.

Attached with the e-mail was the following words from the Bible,

Psalm 29:1-11

1 A psalm by David. Give to the Lord, you heavenly beings. Give to the Lord glory and power. 2 Give to the Lord the glory his name deserves. Worship the Lord in {his} holy splendor.3 The voice of the Lord rolls over the water. The God of glory thunders. The Lord shouts over raging water. 4 The voice of the Lord is powerful. The voice of the Lord is majestic. 5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars. The Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon. 6 He makes Lebanon skip along like a calf and Mount Sirion like a wild ox. 7 The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning. 8 The voice of the Lord makes the wilderness tremble. The Lord makes the wilderness of Kadesh tremble. 9 The voice of the Lord splits the oaks and strips {the trees of} the forests bare. Everyone in his temple is saying, “Glory!”10 The Lord sat enthroned over the flood. The Lord sits enthroned as king forever. 11 The Lord will give power to his people. The Lord will bless his people with peace.

Pretty Cool Huh?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

An Incredible Weekend

My wife and I returned from our Vow Marriage Retreat weekend today. What a weekend! It was probably the best few days I have spent with my wife in a long time, if not ever. The Location was at Pine Cove Christian Camp near Tyler, TX. When we arrived Friday night we heard a speaker who gave us a few lessons on communication. His topic was taken from the books by Emmerson & Sarah Eggerichs called, Love and Respect. After the speaker we took a "hayride" around the camp. The night stars were a beautiful testimony of God's presence there.

The next day started with my wife and I getting up and sitting on a bench together overlooking the sunrise at it rose over the camp pond. After a terrific breakfast, we took a horseback ride around the camp. It was a blast! My horse was named Ulysses and my wife's horse was called V-8. Although my wife was a little nervous, after her last horse riding experience, she really enjoyed the ride. We want to go back or plan our horse riding experience with our children. Then we heard Part 1 of seminar over basic management of money, by looking at our spending habits as a couple. After a great lunch, we finished off the money management seminar by listening to a fellow who does money management counseling with couples. Although we picked up a few things, to me it was the most boring part of the weekend.

Later that afternoon, my bride and I tried our best to climb a rock wall. It was much harder than it looked. Even though we didn't make it very high, at least we tried. Then we immediately went down a zip-line that was about 30-35 feet high. We are both terrified of heights, but we did it anyway, despite a couple of attempts by me to "chicken out." I am so glad we did it though. We conquered our fears together. Next came a short class on how couples can learn to play together like we did during our dating time. It was fun to reminisce on the past of dating and look forward to playing with other again. That evening, after a wonderful dinner, the moment my wife and I were waiting for came, The Dance Lessons.

My wife and I had spent the days before the retreat looking for pairs of dance shoes, which of course comes with a new dress for my wife. Needless to say, when it came time for the dance lessons, my wife and I "out dressed" the other couples. When we arrived, I could see the heads of the other husbands, look over at my wife, and the jealous eyes of the other wives, were looking close at my very sexy wife. I felt so proud to be with my wife at that moment. This attractive, sharp dressed lady, was with me! The dance lessons were outstanding. We learned basic waltz, tango and double-two step. Other couples told us the next day we were "tearing up" the dance floor. I loved dancing with my wife. I loved being close to her, moving with her, and looking deeply into her eyes as we moved in rhythm to the music. Yes, I did step on her toes once or twice, but overall I think we did very well. We can't wait to go dancing again! (P.S. Another couple did catch us on video doing some dancing together. They are supposed to e-mail us the video. If they do I will post it so you can see us.)

The next morning, My wife and I woke up to a pancake breakfast. Then we took a canoe ride around the pond. While on the pond, we saw the horses we rode on the day before stopping by the pond for a cool drink. They looked so majestic as they stood on the bank watching these amateur canoeist. It was a perfect ending to a perfect weekend with my wife. I love my wife so much and am so glad we went on this retreat together. I will cherish the memories of this weekend forever. Thank you, LORD for my wife, my family, and our commitment to help our marriage and family grow stronger in You!