YUP, THAT TICKLES A BIT

“To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the Lord is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.”Jeremiah 6:10 

 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any
time they should see with
their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be
converted, and I should heal them
” Matthew 13:15 

 “Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.”Hebrews 5:11 


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SINGING, PLAYING AND PRAISING

“Music is portable theology. Scott A. Gayer 

          What a quote! With few exceptions we can sing the Word aloud. Yup! Grocery stores, at the gas pump, even at work (as long as it doesn’t interfere with the job!), walking around the mall, just about anywhere! 

          “For I’m persuaded to believe nothing can separate us from the wonderful love of God . . .” (Romans 8:38-39). That is theology in a song. It is something that we, Christians, can hold onto when things are seemingly chaotic in our lives. 

          The great theologian, Martin Luther, penned the words to one of the most outstanding hymns of faith and theology. Consider these portions taken from the verses of “A Mighty Fortress”: 

  • (God) A bulwark never failing – Isaiah 26:1 
  • Were not the right Man on our side . . . Christ Jesus, it is He 
  • We will not fear for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us 
  • The body they may kill, God’s truth abideth still, His Kingdom is forever 


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RESPONSIBLE FOR ME

The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son:
” Ezekiel 18:20b” 

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

II Corinthians 5:21 

 In the fall of 1975, I was transferred to Ellsworth AFB, S.D. and assigned to the 44th Missile Site Security squadron. I worked 3 days in the field, supervising the security staff at 5 Launch Control Facilities, with 3 days off (but one of those days off was usually spent in transit from the base to the LCF’s as the closest one was 100 miles from the base).  

As a Staff Sergeant (E-5), I supervised approximately 15-20 Air Force enlisted Security Policemen and oversaw the security of 50 nuclear missiles (10 missiles per LCF) located in and around the Badlands of South Dakota. Me, Mario, was in charge! 

Being in charge was good as long as it was when I was on duty. I soon found out, though, that being on duty and being in charge carried some responsibility. One time, on my days off, I received a call from the squadron to report to the Colonel (squadron commander). 

I had no idea what was up so I put on my uniform and drove into the base. At the office myself and an airman (one of the men I supervised) were escorted into the Colonel’s office where we stood at attention, saluted and reported in. The Colonel stayed seated, returned our salutes and just stared at some paperwork on his desk. 


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REFLECTORS

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: Ephesians 5:8 

 I have told the story of coming in one morning in the boat when it was so foggy, I could hardly see a few dozen feet in front of me. I wrote of how I would shine the spot light looking for the pilings that indicated I was in the boat channel and would not run aground. 

What I didn’t mention is that while I was searching for the pilings, I was also looking for the reflective tape that they were supposed to have (some did not and that made things interesting!) wrapped around them. Flashing that beam of light ahead and to my right looking and hoping to see then next piling that showed me I was right where I was supposed to be. 

Those reflectors were saying, “Here I am! Follow me to safety! I can show you the right path!” 

Our Lord Jesus declared, “I am the Light of the World!” There is no truer Light for mankind. And Jesus promised: “he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12 


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YOU’RE IN THE DOG HOUSE NOW!

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.  

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4 

I hated it. I know, I know, as a Christian the only thing I’m supposed to hate is sin. However, this story is about the Smith family pre-salvation. Somehow, someone got our family the “cute” little doggies that hung on little hooks next to a “dog house” with the sentence above it: “Who’s in the dog house now?” 


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DON’T LOOK BACK

As a new Corrections Officer, I got fooled by inmates. A lot. I would search a cell and find contraband (papers, tobacco, matches) and set in on the walkway while I continued to the next cell. I would come out and the floor would be empty of all the stuff I had found! 

One morning, as I was releasing inmates to the school, Correctional Industries, kitchen, etc., I had 3 or four who came up in the line and said, “D.W.’s office” (the Deputy Warden). I marked “DW” in the square by their names for the purpose of “count” so that I knew where they were. 

Unfortunately, they didn’t have permission to go to the DW’s office! The next thing I know they all came up the stairs to the unit door, laughing, snickering, and making fun of the “fish” (fresh meat). I got a visit from one of my sergeants and a phone call from the other. 

I can guarantee you, that I never left contraband out in the open and I checked the roster more carefully before letting people go! Yet, for days afterward I let these things get to me. And it made me irritable because I let myself become fooled. 

Finally, one of my training officers told me, “don’t count your losses, only your wins because it will depress you.” 


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TWO STORIES ABOUT SINGING THE LORD’S PRAYERS

A beautiful interpretation of “Our Father” sung by many. The best version, in my opinion, was done by the Italian tenor, Mario Lanza. 

          I did a summer internship under Velmer Dewey in the town of Edgerton, WY in 1977. At the time Pastor Dewey was preaching at 3 different churches on Sunday mornings. The first service was at a church in Midwest, WY just across the highway from Edgerton, then he would come to the church in Edgerton and preach followed by another church (do not remember which town, but it wasn’t far). 

          Knowing that I loved to sing, he asked me to work with the piano player for the church in Midwest for a special. I chose The Lord’s Prayer and it was a favorite of the pianist’s too. She was excited to accompany me and had laid out the sheet music, about 10 pages worth, across the top of the piano. 

          Came the morning of the special and I stood beside the piano confident in my abilities, she, the pianist, looked up at me, smiled and began to play. I began to sing and the congregation looked on with joy. 

          Just before we got to the portion that said, “as we forgive our debtors . . .” she went to turn the page and . . .  

Every 

Single 

Piece of 

Her 

Music 

Fluttered to the floor!! 


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TOO HOT TO HANDLE

       And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking:                  and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. 

            And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.                              Exodus 19:18-19 

 

          I was in the 7th Grade in Port Hueneme, CA in 1964/65 and our Science teacher was performing an experiment with various metals. He had a solid metal ring (about 2 inches in diameter) and attached to it were round bars of steel, iron, zinc, bronze, tin (3 or four inches long and about a ½ inch in diameter) and a couple others (no gold or silver!). 

          He had members of the class come up and just grasp the end of one of the bars while he heated the metal ring over a Bunsen Burner. He instructed us to let go of our bar when it got too hot to hold. 

          I don’t remember the order of which bar got the hottest first, second, etc. but for the first 3 groups of us, it was the same. When my turn came, I was given a bar that had been toward the last of the bars to get too hot. 

          I held on to the bar as the teacher held the ring over the open flame and one by one my fellow students dropped out. Suddenly, though, my bar grew too hot for me to hold so I let it go – out of order! Of course, some of the students began to make fun of me for being weak, but the teacher stepped in and reminded us that not everyone senses heat/cold the same. 


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SLAP PACK

This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.Psalm 34:6 

So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.Hebrews 13:6 

 

When I was going through the corrections academy for Idaho in 1989, we were shown some of what the line officers were using for protection. Simple things like key keepers with a leather flap to keep your pants from getting pulleys in the fabric from the keys rubbing on them, to something called a “slap pack”. 

The slap pack was a piece of equipment that the state had just brought in to be used by officers in case of emergency. It was attached to the duty belt and it had a button you could push (slap – hence the name “slap pack”) which would send an alarm to central control letting them know you were in trouble. 

There was also a feature that would send out the alarm if the officer were knocked out or laid out on the floor (because the pack was laying horizontal). That sensor not only sent an alert to control but also had an ear-splitting alarm – or so the instructors told us. 

Come demonstration time, one of the instructors, telling all of us trainees, that if anything should happen to us and we were flat on the floor, then this would happen and other C.O.’s would come on the run! With a great flourish he laid down, and we waited. 


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IMITATION

Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. I Corinthians 11:1 

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children. Ephesians 5:1 

I developed a talent in my 20’s. I found that I could imitate people! I could talk and sound like Ed Sullivan (“Who was he Grandpa?”), several of my supervisors (in the Air Force), college professors and some past presidents. 

And, yes, there were times when I embarrassed myself. Many times! I would go into my act and my fellow troops and friends would laugh and then suddenly get quiet. Did I catch a clue? Oh, no, not Mario! I just it louder not realizing that the supervisor had walked up behind me. 

One of professors came up behind me as I was imitating him for the class, “So, I said to myself, ‘Self’ . . .” at which time he said, “So, Mario, what did I say to myself?” Then the class broke up. 

On the other hand, many times, when I would play and sing music from Simon and Garfunkel, Neil Diamond, or John Denver, people would comment that I sounded just like them. That was a great compliment as I did try to imitate them. 


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