When We Were Kids

   When we were kids, mom and dad sent us to bed when we wanted to stay up. When all was ‘clear’, we would sneak and get things like marbles, baseball cards, plastic army men. Mom and dad believed in ‘communal sleeping arrangements’ three boys in one room. We had a bunk bed, I was on the top, Ed was on the bottom, and Bob had a separate bed four feet away. I remember getting rubber bands to shoot at Bob, but he was well ‘armed’ as well. The war was on, and we had a great time, until mom or dad would come in and spoil the fun. As usual, they always came in when we didn’t expect them.
   We had good times, there wasn’t a lot of money. Dad was making $164.00 preaching in Dallas. We got $.25 weekly allowance, spent wisely on 5 cent Bubble gum, and 5 baseball cards, which we collected). We chewed the gum all day and at night (when we remembered) we stuck it on the bed post, hoping that someone had not stolen it by morning. Sometimes we forgot to take it out at night, and mom had to cut it out of our hair.
   Dad didn’t mind giving us work around the house and yard, pulling weeds, planting rose bushes for mom, laying flagstone, pulling bushes, cut the grass, pick up after our selves, clean our rooms, wash the dishes, dry the dishes, wash the car, clean the garage, empty the garbage. So, we asked “How about an increase in our allowance?” Dad would say, “You don’t pay rent son, I’ll put it on your bill.”
   Mom was the ‘house doctor’.  She had special cures for most things. If we skinned our selves, she would get Iodine, and rub that yukky brick red stuff on the cut (Iodine). She would say, “This is going to hurt a bit.” (Wrong!!! It hurt a lot!!!)  She would blow on it till the pain went away. Then put a band-aide on it and off we would go. We always went to “Dr. Mom” for everything, from skinned knees and bruises to splinters and burns. She always knew what to do. Her cure for almost everything was a hug and a kiss. We were amazed how that helped. Mom was also the ‘house defense attorney (most of the time), when we wanted something from dad. She was our mediator, and sometimes defense attorney. We didn’t always get what we wanted, but somehow, we always got what we needed.
   I was the first of three boys in the family, mom lost two other baby girls prematurely, we had three adopted sisters, that were loved the same. Now, mom and dad are gone, one brother (Ed) and sister (Charlene) have passed away. This leaves Bob, Sandi, Tammy and myself. As we grow older, we reflect back when we get together on the times we had with mom and dad and laugh and cry.
   We remember mom and dad praying, and reading the Bible to us. They would read things like, “My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother; For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck”

Proverbs 1:8-9. Through the memories, and their teachings, they are still with us.

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Whatever Happened To Sin

I grew up during the time when people first started saying, “God is dead”. Prayers that were said in schools, stopped. Things which had been taught as immoral, unnatural, and sinful, began to be called “diseases”, “in-born” and “natural”. “Sin” was changed or omitted from the vocabularies of young people. People are now becoming more concerned about political correctness than Godliness, righteousness. The attacks on faith in God, and trusting His Word have become the clarion call of many professors in our universities. The promotion of evolution, and humanism is being injected in students eager to learn, and better prepare themselves for life.
   Some may say, “Well, all that talk of “God”, “Creation” “Right and Wrong”, is just old fashioned.” “Man is evolving!” To this I say, after two world wars, a Korean War, Viet Nam, Iraqi War, etc…. we should know mankind is not EVOLVING, and certainly not morally!
   The fact is God is the Designer of the Universe, His Son is “The Supreme Scientist”. 
   When we break (or get broken) by God’s laws, we sin. John says, “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness” (I John 3:4). What did Paul mean by “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”? (Romans 6:23). What did he mean by “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”? (Romans 6:23). We all sin, but what happens when we do? What dies when we sin? Isaiah says, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, ¶so that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). Sin, separates us from God, we die spiritually.
   DEATH TO INNOCENCE: To do things which are right, is good, but to do things that are wrong, destroys innocence to that thing. Sin brings a dark feeling of guilt, and wrongness. Teens may hide it from parents, and others, but they like all people cannot hide from themselves. Sin makes someone get up and look in the mirror, and say, “I HATE YOU!” Man’s law may never catch up with a person who sins, but we get ‘caught’ inside. Yes forgiveness is offered through Jesus, but the innocence is gone.
   DEATH TO IDEALS: When sin rules a person’s life, it begins the erosion of the standards, and ideals that were held. Compromising and rationalizing begin. Lying and stealing begin to be gauged by degrees. This where the “white lie” came from. One young man wore a tee shirt which read, “Death to Virginity” on it, but with this comes the death of morals, and convictions, and conscience.
   DEATH TO THE WILL: Over time, a person slips down into gross sin. It is a step by step process. A minister counseled a church member, who was outgoing and had a good reputation.  The path she had chosen had eventually led her into a life of prostitution.  No one knew about this ‘lifestyle’ nor the pain in her heart.
   The minister spoke kindly to her about falling into Satan’s trap of selling herself to others.  She said, “If you had called me a prostitute three years ago, I would have slapped your face.  Now it’s true and I am so ashamed”.
   “How did this evil thing happen to you, how did you get where you are today?” I asked.  Her statement was simple — “Step by step!”  First were bad companions that brought death to innocence,   Then the gradual erosion of ideals and goals to live a good life.  Finally, the I lost my will to turn back.”
   Whatever happened to sin? It’s still here… just ‘dressed up a bit’. Jesus came to deal with sin by giving his own life for ours. Where sin has gone, God’s grace IS.

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The Dream – jackexum.com

   Dad said, “Jack, my time is over.” It seemed there was no way I could convince him otherwise. He had done so much for others, and now his legs were giving him pain, he had a pace-maker, skin cancers that were periodically being removed. Mom was in the nursing home, and we could not convince him, to move in with us. It seemed like he was just ‘tired’. Giving up was never dad’s way, and I knew this. “You still have a lot that you can do, dad.” I said to him. He just smiled, and said, “Jack, my time is done. It’s time for you and others to continue.”
            I sat and spoke with him about the possibility of a website. One where he could put his books, and over time, make them into e-Books. It would be a site where he could have a blog, and carry on discussions with people all over the world,  and possibly do some counseling with those who needed it. Sounded like a good idea to dad. It was 2010 and we were discussing it a bit more. I didn’t want to push, but I just knew his work was not done. Besides, I told him, “Dad you are so wise, you have so much to offer to so many people. Let’s do something!”
            Dad finally came around to the idea, and we started talking about what to call the site. Dad said, “We have to figure what the site will be about… its purpose.” There were several ideas and thoughts that we discussed:  1.) “Amazing Grace” since over the years, dad had done so much study on the subject. Yes, he wrote about it earlier in his ministry. Yet, time, prayer, experience and study helped him to “grow in grace”. We played with this name, but it was being used quite a bit.  2.) “jackexum.com”, well, he liked that.
            Unfortunately, dad went into the hospital to have his leg operated on to ease the pain form an artery being clogged. It was during this period that things started going down hill. He has a slight heart attack, and after a time, had another, and after a short recovery in the nursing home, had another. He passed away February 7, 2010. The dream was gone… I thought.
            Then after a couple of months, I went to a local web builder who had helped in the past with my computer. We talked about the possibilities, the obstacles and it started. After two years of work, www.jackexum.com was ‘born’. With hundreds of articles by myself and dad, books for free and for sale, pictures, a special teens area, Bible studies, discussions and more. The site continues to be improved, and expanded. All dedicated to the memory of my dad, Jack Exum. Dedicated to keeping his work going, and reaching out to all who want to ‘grow in grace’.

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   Rudy (His full name is ‘Jose Rudy Robertavich Exum’) is  very lucky. We think he experienced ‘divine intervention’. Rudy thinks he is Doberman Pinscher, but he is all Chihuahua. He weighs 10 pounds (maybe more now), is black and tan with cute floppy ears.  
   He is the joy of my brother and his wife, commonly referred to as “ooour baaaby”, (unless someone gets mad at him).
   For two weeks he was a guest at our place since my sister in law was on a trip over seas and my brother was in the hospital. What happened was, Bob came over to pick up his breathing equipment, and when he left, Rudy decided to follow him on the road.  My wife ran after Rudy, but by the time she got to him, he had had his ‘brush with death’. In following Bob, a big truck came from behind Rudy and passed right over him. The wind draft from the truck knocked poor Rudy over on his face, causing him to bleed a bit. When my wife got to him, he was on his side, his legs were stiff and he was shaking, and his mouth bleeding. My wife called me, in tears, saying “Rudy was run over!!!” Well, Rudy survived somehow.
   What went through ‘Rudy’s’ mind as all this happened? Well, since I understand dog-language, we sat and had a man to dog talk, and he told me. “I sure have learned my lesson.” Of course I agreed with him, since it scared everyone. “What made you run after Bob?” I asked. Rudy said, “ I just love Bob.” I asked Rudy, “Do you hold this against Bob?” Rudy said,  “No, I forgive Bob for not seeing me, ‘cause I know he loves me.”
            We can learn a lot about life that will help us. Things like loyalty and faithfulness, love and forgiveness. These are important, but somehow, we miss them and some of life’s greatest blessings.
            Before I forget, while Rudy was staying with us, he and Little Bit (our Datshund) made friends. It took some time to get over the territorial challenges, but they seemed to make a secret ‘pact’ to co-operate and ‘deal with’ Molly (our cat). You may remember Molly from articles that dad wrote. Anyway, they worked together to ‘play’ with Molly. She did not appreciate this at all. They were not allowed to be rough, but ‘they had fun’. Molly would have her ‘sweet revenge’ as well. She would sneak up from behind Rudy, or Little Bit, and pounce on their backs. Rudy lost a pound and a half during the two weeks, running after Molly, but gained it back when he went home! Overall, it was a good two weeks that we all enjoyed.
            In the end when we had to give him back to Bob and Sveta, it was a bit difficult, but now when we go and visit… Rudy always remembers us, and gives us a great welcome.
            Paul said “Love never fails” (I Corinthians 13:8). No, he wasn’t talking about pets, but for sure we can learn to love and forgive from them. Trust me, life will go better when we do.

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One Dollar Bill

   I went to the store and purchased some things, and when I got change for $20.00 I noticed one particular dollar bill. It wasn’t counterfeit, but was wrinkled, which is unfortunate, because it means it has been in circulation a while. What made this bill ‘stand out’ to me, and what makes it unfortunate?
   Someone had scratched out “IN GOD WE TRUST” and had written “God doesn’t want His name on money” “Oooops! there is no God.” This seems to be part of a much larger problem, as Atheists  are fighting to get all things relating to God removed from the public ‘eye’. Unfortunately, they are succeeding in many areas. Prayer has been removed from schools, children cannot wear clothing with scriptures on them, even Tim Tebow received criticism because he put “Jno. 3:16” under his eyes. “Christmas”, and the Ten Commandments are under attack, and are being forbidden in public schools, and scriptures and Bible dramas. Yet, according to the First Amendment to the Constitution, Government cannot be involved in establishing a religion, nor can it prohibit our freedom of religion.  
   Question: DO WE REALLY WANT A NATION WITHOUT, NOT UNDER, NOT TRUSTING IN, GOD? Maybe our dollar bills should read “IN NO ONE (BUT OURSELVES) WE TRUST”.  The Declaration of Independence says, “… and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them….” and again “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”
   Sure there have been shameful things done in the ‘name of religion’. Yes, suffering, pain and death still plague us!  All of this falls at the feet of SINFUL PEOPLE, not God. God created man with the Right to make choices, and choices have consequences.  Without Satan and sin  there would be no choices! We are not evolved animals or ‘robots’. God does not force Himself on anyone. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,  I will come in  and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20). It is far easier to accuse God than it is to disprove God. The arguments of DESIGN and DESIGNER of the Universe and it’s Laws did not just HAPPEN ACCIDENTALLY. Evolution takes more faith to believe in than God. Man is not evolving to something better, mankind is morally devolving  because of sin, not God! Two world wars, along with the other conflicts and terrible actions of people against other people, should prove this!
    An angry man asked his preacher, “Where was God, when my son was killed in Viet Nam!” The minister calmly took the broken hearted man’s hands, and replied, “He was right where He was when His own Son died on the cross.”
   If there was ever an argument for God, and the need to come to Him through Jesus, it is the awful condition of man in sin, and the sacrifice of God’s own Son to redeem man.
   David said in Psalm 14:1  “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

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My Little Friend

   I (dad) am writing these few words while flying to a weekend appointment. There is a passenger on board that did not pay for his fare. I offered to pay it for him, but they refused. He is sitting in the seat next to me. He reclines in somewhat of a mystical “praying hands” position. He is so small he sits unnoticed. His mother is not here. He has never spoken a word. He does not cry. His father is alive today, somewhere on earth. A friend gave him to me to care for. Lunch will be served in a few moments, yet he will not eat. He once had a very strong appetite – but no more. He didn’t lose it, it was taken from him!

   He will never again swim with abandoned pleasure in the fluids of his mother’s womb. She did not love him. He is in limbo. His cry was never heard.

   His “personal choice” to live was cast aside. He was not made a “ward of the court” but to the contrary, all protections, by the courts, were removed from him. He was one of five million who have been wasted by a culture that places a “low self-image on life”.
   The doctors who took the vow to preserve life, deliberately destroyed his. He was not sucked out of the womb in small bits and pieces much like a garbage disposal discharges waste. He was one of the elite who was poisoned with a saline (salt) solution. He did not drink it willingly. It was injected into his little world.
   Now he sits – quiet and still. He is preserved in chemicals, and kept inside a special container – hidden from the eyes of the living. Atrocities of any given generation happen – yet none seems to be aware of them while they are going on.
   We’re now making our decent into New York City. This could have been his hometown, for more of his relatives were aborted here last year than were born alive. I dare not remove him from his hiding place. He would strike fear in the hearts of all the passengers.
   His conception was a personal choice, and so was his death. He is a legal “homicide” yet never threatened anyone with harm. He may have been another Einstein or Edison.
   He is silent yet so eloquent.
   He is naked and defenseless, yet he attacks us – reminds us – shames us!
   We fear him for we have failed to love him.
   We hide from him, yet there is no place.
   Now everyone is departing. Look at them – hugging loved ones – sweethearts embracing. It’s great to be alive.
   My little friend? His life stopped at 20 weeks yet he is perfectly formed. Weight – about half pound – size – a handful.
   On his tomb is placed the saying, “Cold is my grave, but O I love it. For colder were my friends above it.”
   “Personal choice?” We’ve heard from the living, perhaps now we should listen to the dead

     People have many “personal choices”. What to eat, wear, and where to work, who to marry, which church to attend, and on and on. We have “personal choices”. Maybe we need to re-think the “personal choice” of Abortion. What happened to dad’s friend’? Dad had him ‘laid to rest’ in a beautiful place, with a quiet ceremony.

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