Monthly Archives: October 2021

Fun, Fun, Fun

1 Timothy 6:17b but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.

Acts 14:17 in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”

There are events and circumstances that bring joy into our life, one of those for me is fishing. I caught this Chinook salmon yesterday fishing with friends on the Alsea River. It was a very enjoyable day.

Intermittent experiences of fun mixed in amongst the regular pressures and trials of life are a key to staying energized and positive. I try and schedule fun events into my life as I ride this train called “the life of Dee Duke,” so as to be as productive as possible, bearing as much fruit for God as I can.

It is often difficult to schedule enjoyable events into our life as often as we would like, and the pressures and trials of life seem to be increasing, some days, increasing rapidly. There are a number of ways to fix that problem, one is to learn to enjoy more of the regular events that occur in our life, events that we take for granted, and that we don’t think about much as they happen. Joy tends to be an emotion that takes more and more fun to maintain if we don’t guard our heart from being unappreciative of these gifts from God, I think it is called “diminishing return.”

Thanking and praising God for the smaller, less impactful events that happen in our life is super important. God gives joy, He can put that powerful emotion into us as often as He likes. Those who assume that God owes them comfortable and positive events tend to take the many good things that happen to them for granted. God does not give joy to those people, so choose not to be one, train yourself to be a person who praises and thanks God for everything.

James 1:17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

The flip side of that principle is don’t grumble or complain about anything. Grumbling and complaining destroys our ability to feel joy and have fun.

Psalms 9:1-2 I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart;
I will tell of all Your wonders.
I will be glad and exult in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.

Notice the number of “ I Will’s” in those two verses, making a commitment, a goal, choosing to rejoice always is something that we can all do.

Taking the Splinter Out of Your Brothers Eye

Yesterday I wrote about blind spots. Those sin habits and character flaws that we have excused, justified, ignored, and blamed others for to the point that we become totally unaware of them, blind spots. I wrote how we can begin to discover and conquer them, but what about helping others with their blind spots. Can we do that, should we do that?

So you have friends whose marriage is in trouble, and you can see clearly what the problems are, and what needs to change. You are pretty sure that if the changes are not made their marriage will end in divorce. Do you say something? If you do will they accept it? Will they get angry and possibly end your friendship? If you say nothing for fear of their reaction, and their marriage does end in divorce, will you kick yourself for doing nothing?

You have some other friends whose kids are terribly misbehaved, and you are certain that if nothing changes they will probably all be in jail before they graduate from High School. Should you say something or just let happen what will? If you do say something, how will they react?

You have another friend who seems to create conflict wherever he goes, and you can see what appears to be a blind spot in his character that is the reason he is such a trouble maker. He needs to change if he is ever going to have many friends or amount to anything in the work world, but he probably won’t unless someone points out his blind spots to him. Should you risk being the one who does as one of his few friend’s or do you just let him keep going the way he is.

The fact is, those who seek input, counsel, and correction from others grow and change very rapidly. It is one of God’s chosen methods for character growth because it takes great humility and God loves humility and blesses those who have it.

Psalms 141:5 Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me;
It is oil upon the head; Do not let my head refuse it,

Proverbs 17:10 A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding
Than a hundred blows into a fool.

But what about those in my life who are not seeking it?

Three suggestions:

1. Make sure you are working on the log that is in your own eye, then you can see clearly to take the speck out of your brothers eye. Examine your own life carefully, and develop the habit of doing so regularly. Ask friends for input on things you are weak in, possibly even the ones you want to help.

Matthew 7:3-5 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

2. Think about what you will say and how, and be very gracious and gentle.

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

3. Pray for those who have blind spots that God will work in their life, and give you wisdom about what to say, when to say it, and if you should even say anything at all.

James 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Blind Spots

A blind spot is a character flaw that we are unaware of. Everyone around us can see it, but we are oblivious to it. It is sad to think that I could have a sin habit or weakness that I could be working on to eliminate it or conquer it, but instead I act like it doesn’t exist. Blind spots are a major cause of relational problems, and because we are unaware of them in our life the bulk of our sinning is in this area.

Personal shame is one of our greatest fears. We were created by God for glory and majesty so feeling and experiencing shame is especially repugnant to us. When we attempt to protect ourselves from shame by blaming others for our sins and weaknesses, or excusing it as not so bad, or justifying it, or simply ignoring it, we begin to desensitize our conscience, callous it so it doesn’t do it’s job. If our cover up takes place with one particular sin or weakness pretty soon we have programmed ourselves to be blind to it.

If it weren’t so sad to see someone so disconnected from their own irritating behavior it would be funny as we watched people do and say dumb things that don’t make them blush even a little bit. It ought to make us really nervous that we could be acting like a fool, but be thinking that we are right up there with King Solomon.

A good way to begin to discover what these blind spots may be in our own life is to think reflectively about what we did or said before, during and after a conflict with another person. We see other people’s blind spots easily and come to the conclusion that the conflict is their fault, thus increasing the seriousness of our own blind spot. Those who really want to eliminate blind spots from their life will choose to take the blame for conflicts and then search for the reason, asking others for their input on what we have done to create the problem between us.

Because we are so reluctant to discover faults in our own life most people live their entire life with major blind spots that everyone can see but themselves.

My Birthday is Today!

I am 73 years old today, and I have had a wonderful day, wonderful week actually. All my kids and grandkids have been here with us, that is 45 people counting Patty and I. That doesn’t happen very often because everyone has their own jobs, homes, agendas, and schedules, so it was a great honor and joy to have them all here for a couple of days. The American tradition is to honor people on their birthday, sing to them, visit them, send them birthday cards, and give them gifts. I felt very honored both by family and friends all this week.

The Bible says we are to give God lots of honor. It also says that we are to honor our parents, great emphasis is put on that one. It also says that husbands are to honor their wives,and we all are to honor the aged.

1 Peter 2:17 Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God,

“Honor all people,” and it probably means, “honor all people, all the time, not just on their birthday.” How do we do that? Be nice to them, listen to them when they talk, meet needs in their life when we can, offer to pray for them, don’t be irritable or grumpy even if you have had a bad day, and ask for their counsel and advice.

God says in His Word that if we would honor others He would honor us. It also says that we reap what we sow, and that if we honor others they will honor us. It takes discipline and self-control to always treat every person in our life with the utmost honor and respect, but the dividends are huge.

Remembering the Past

My girls and Patty have been going through boxes of old photographs getting a lot of laughs as we see ourselves from years ago. It is hard to believe but I used to be rather slim with lots of hair and my beard was black! As we were looking through the pictures, even some from my High School days, I couldn’t remember much of the details that would have been part of my life when the picture was taken. I often lament all the events and experiences that I can no longer remember, it is like they didn’t even happen.

I often wonder about heaven and my new glorified body. I am sure that I will be able to remember every detail and every thought of my entire life. As I reminisce in heaven about my life here on earth will I have much regret or sorrow over what I did and didn’t do with the life I was given by the Lord? Some people will say, we won’t remember any of the sad stuff, God will take that away. I think that is just wishful thinking, personally. One of things that will make eternity awesome is the contrast between there and here.

But I am sure that there will be some feelings of regret when we remember fully and realize what could have been, and what we could have accomplished. But for now, I am choosing to forget the past and press on hard, with all my might to become all that I am capable of becoming and to accomplish all that I am capable of accomplishing.

Forced Vaccine Mandate

Written by Siemens AG employee named Sarah.

It’s interesting, because I never thought, as an American citizen, I would have to justify My body My choice. But apparently, I do. I was born and raised Maronite Catholic. However, my religious beliefs are more than a secular religion. It is a contract between me and my creator, God.

God blessed me with a vessel, my body; and charged me with the responsibility of stewardship over my body. I take that responsibility seriously. In so doing, I do my research thoroughly. One of the interesting aspects of this year was the amount of knowledge I have gained regarding the scientific community and how they operate.

A startling realization has been the revelation as to the number of pharmaceuticals that contain aborted fetal tissue. This should be abhorrent to every human. We are not cannibals. I am not a cannibal. And therefore, I cannot risk ingesting fetal tissue from aborted babies. I do not take any medication. And with this newfound knowledge, I have no intention of starting now.

As to the “vaccine”, it’s efficacy is almost 0. It neither prohibits nor deters the reception or transmission of Covid-19. It is also showing to have a effectivity life of anywhere between 4-6 months. Therefore, the question becomes how often are we going to be coerced into getting “booster” shots? Additionally, all the scientific data is now showing that the vaccinated populations are at risk of more severe infection than those that have chosen to be unvaccinated. Whereas the unvaccinated are reaching natural herd immunity, with greater efficacy and longevity. I could use the next several pages to provide documented proof, scientific data, and religious texts. Which I am happy to provide, if needed. However, I would assume most people are aware and doing their own research, as opposed to just blindly following. This is not to say that others should or shouldn’t be vaccinated, it is a personal choice. And one that should be respected.

Religion is more than prayers or psalms, it is a realization of the sanctity of life, my life. It is my responsibility and mine alone to ensure the best life I can live, and that includes my health and my health choices. Science should never be used as a weapon. However, it is being used now. The people responsible at the CDC and NIH have both professed to not having studied natural immunity. That is completely counter to scientific analysis. As a company with a long history of scientific achievement, this should be obvious.

The justification of government contracts to be used as coercion is abhorrent. I would expect a company as large as Siemens, and with a history as long as Siemens’, would understand this, and would stand up for human rights and human dignity. I am saddened by this decision, and disheartened that I have to choose between a 20-year career of dedicated service or my free will. Having been born on the 4th of July, and having served 8 years in the US Army, I will always choose Free Will. My religion is founded in our constitution: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Forcing an injection on someone who has already achieved natural immunity goes against my religious beliefs, The US Constitution, and basic human decency.”

Arm Yourself

I bet you thought the title of this blog was about guns! I like guns but this blog is about establishing a purpose for our life.

1 Peter 4:1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose.

Jesus suffered as a man in His life. His suffering was so that my sins could be forgiven by God and I could live with Him forever. His suffering had a noble purpose, and He knew that.

Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.

God chooses to bring suffering and trials into my life so that I can grow in character, but if I respond in a wrong way the trials that God intended for good end up causing just the opposite result in my life.

Those who respond correctly to trials resulting in maximum growth in their lives are those who premeditate what they are going to think, what they are going to say, and how they are going to act when the trials come. They “arm themselves” to do what Jesus did when He suffered for us. What did Jesus do?

1. He trusted God the Father totally, because He knew His suffering had a purpose.

2. He prayed and asked for strength.

3. He didn’t grumble or complain.

Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.

4. He fixed His eyes on eternity, not this life.

1 Peter 4:13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.

So, I have established my plan, my response when I don’t like the events or circumstances of my life.

Dear Lord, I trust You totally with my life. I believe that You will only do and bring about events and circumstances that are best for my growth. Please give me your strength to manage and bear up under all that comes into my life. Grant me the strength to rejoice always and to never grumble or complain about anything. I look forward to stepping into glory one of these days, and I want to be as much like You in character as is possible. Grant me your wisdom to fix and change what I can, to help people, to teach and encourage as many as possible to live for You and to serve You with their whole life. Thank You, I love You.

Quit Your Whining

We have a dog. His name is Roscoe. We have had him for just a little over a year. He is half poodle and half Jack Russel Terrier, and he is a very nice dog. He is smart, very personable for a dog, he loves our grandkids and they love him. But he does have a couple of very annoying habits. We keep the various doors in the house closed and one of them is our bedroom door. His bed is in our bedroom along with his food dish so he is in our bedroom all night a good portion of the day. If either Patty or I go into the other part of the house he stands at the door and whines. If t is an hour he will stand there and whine for the entire hour. If I am sitting in my recliner which is in our bedroom right next to the door and Patty goes out he will start in on his whining, and I will say, “quit whining!” He quits for a few minutes and then starts in again, and I say much more emphatically, “quit whining!!” Finally after this cycle repeats itself many times I get up and put him in his kennel and cover it with a blanket. If he starts whining in his kennel I smack it hard making a very loud noise, and yell, “quit whining!!!” That usually ends the whining bout.

Whining from a dog is annoying, whining from a kid is very annoying, and whining from a grown up adult is very, very annoying.

Philippians 2:14-15 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,

There is a very thin line between many discussions today about current events and grumbling and complaining. I work hard at not grumbling or complaining about anything, but I often find myself entering into conversations that are anything but positive and affirming. It seems to be part of my human nature to whine about inconveniences, difficulties, and trials.

So, of late I have started saying to myself when I catch myself grumbling and complaining, “Roscoe, quit your whining!”

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Christians Need to Toughen Up

To be tough is to live your life with no fear. The devil lies, the Bible says he is the father of lies. He uses lies to create fear so that he can control people, to hold them captive to do his will rather than God’s. For us to be able to discern what is true and what is a lie is not the issue, the issue is that nothing causes us to fear, nothing, especially not death. Death is our great graduation into glory, into the presence of the Lord, when we get our glorified body. For believers our death is the most positive event in our life. But the devil has manipulated, lied, and intimidated until we are afraid of our greatest promise and event in all of life, crazy!

Psalms 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Hebrews 2:14-15 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

As people having been created in the image and likeness of God, we were created for freedom. Our salvation has set us free from fear, set us free from the devil, and has set us free from tyrants who attempt to control us through fear.

Galatians 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

Because I am free from the devil, the world system, and my own flesh I can choose to live life as free person. I can choose to love anybody, no matter how unloveable they might be, I can choose to be kind and gracious to mean spirited, grouchy people, I am free to do what is right and not be controlled by their rudeness. I am free to forgive anybody of anything, I don’t have to let bitterness control my life. I am, free to rejoice always, grumble about nothing, and be happy and fun to be around. I don’t have to let circumstances dictate my mood, my attitude, or my behavior, because I am free.


A number of years ago I read a book with the title axioms, and when I finished reading it I decided to write my own book by that title. It wouldn’t be for anybody to read except for me, and I would read it over and over again. An axiom is a statement that is self-evidently true. I would write out short, easy to remember, almost motto like statements that I would operate my life by, my pastoring, leading, in my marriage, with my kids and grandkids, and life in general, and attempt to teach others to use as guidelines in their life as well. Over the years I would add new axioms as I personally discovered them from experience, mostly from failures, or witnessed or heard from someone else that was experienced and wise, or that I read. I have 92 axioms right now, but expect that I will write a number more in the near future from my COVID experiences as a pastor of Jefferson Baptist Church. Because I write them short, and as memorable as possible, and read them several times a month they are in my head, and they quickly pop into my thinking at appropriate times. I will share some of my favorites that I repeat all the time to whoever will listen.

1. God blesses unity not methods, it doesn’t matter how we do things as long as we do them together.

2. Don’t be negative, critical, judgmental, or complaining about anything if you want people to enjoy your company.

3. God blesses anybody who forgives everyone of anything.

4. Bible reading and prayer are to our spiritual health what diet and exercise are to our physical health, neglect any one of the four and you will get sick, physically, spiritually, or both.

5. Do the right thing because it is the right thing even if you don’t feel like it.

6. You don’t have to act the way you feel.

7. Just because you get hurt doesn’t mean you have to yell.

8. Don’t quit when you are losing or when you feel like a loser, wait until you are winning then it will be for the right reason.

9. Live everyday as if it is your last before you stand before Jesus at the Judgment Seat and give an account to Him about how you have lived.

10. The more stuff you own the more stuff owns you.

11. Learn a new skill, do something you have never done before, and go someplace you have never been before every year.

12. Make the most of your time, spend your time on paper before you spend it in real life.

13. Steward your money well, spend it on paper before you spend it at the store.

14. Measure and count everything that matters and if it matters set a goal about it.

15. You get stronger by choosing to do things that are harder., quit and you will become a wimp.