Posted tagged ‘Job’

Not Even the Shadow Knows!

February 11, 2018

Dr. Steven J. Callis

                It truly is an amazing and incomprehensible thought: that a creature weighing approximately 15 pounds with a life expectancy of only 6 years is actually 131 years old!  It sounds crazy, no doubt, but more than 40,000 people saw him in “person” last week.

                His name is Phil, and he lives in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.  While it is true that Phil made his official debut in 1887, evidence of a Groundhog Day has been traced as far back as 1840 in the diary of a James L. Morris.  So, we really do not know Phil’s real age!  The folks in Gobbler’s Knob have turned to Phil every year on February 2 for his prediction concerning the arrival of Spring. 

                Today Punxsutawney has a population of just under 6,000 residents.  We can only imagine the organized chaos when nearly 8 times that many people inundate the small town to experience the celebration and hopefully catch a glimpse of ol’ Phil.  Considering that his accuracy rate has been estimated as low as 39%, he is quite a popular fellow.  Actually, he owes a much of his fame to the 1993 film which boosted attendance from 2,000 to 10,000 in a single year.  That number continues to grow.

                I normally stay clear of controversial topics, but there are some people who assert that last week’s Phil is not the same groundhog that appeared back in 1887; that he is not actually 131 years old.  They argue that each time the groundhog dies, he is secretly replaced by another groundhog so as to protect the Punxsutawney legend.  They are able to play the charade because, apparently, “they all look alike.”

                Weather forecasters have a difficult task.  To what extent, I wonder, is their job security connected to the accuracy of their forecasts.  Baseball players are rarely expected to get a base hit more than 25-30% of their batter’s box appearances.  Pilots, on the other hand, are expected to successfully land their planes 100% of the time.  So, what about the weather?

                Whatever their accuracy rate, it must be better than satisfactory, because they began to predict forecasts beyond the 24-hour mark.  There are 3-day, 5-day, and even 9-day forecasts on most local news channels.  As we might imagine, the accuracy of weather pattern predictions decrease for these longer periods of time.

                Punxsutawney Phil and local weather forecasters share a common challenge:  nature refuses to be bound by animal or human control.  I do respect our weather forecasters, but it is almost comical to see the possible hurricane models, all in different colors on the map, predicted by our weather channels.  Yes, I agree that the storm likely will take one of the 15 or 20 tracks that appear on the map!  Such storms will always have “an air” of unpredictability in them!

                In the book of Job, God laid claim to every power on earth.  Nature is God’s creation.  The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.  He orchestrates the universe; He is sovereign above the plants, animals, storms, seas, winds, and humanity with all of its agencies and technologies and politics and philosophies.  He cannot be bound by human thought or prediction.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:9).  Therein do we ultimately find our rest.


Happy Birthday Barbara Millicent Roberts!

March 10, 2014

By Steven J. Callis

Happy Birthday, Barbara Millicent Roberts!  At the age of 55, she continues to stand tall in her part of the world, leading quite a life.

She has owned more than 40 pets, including a Panda, a lion cub, dogs, cats, horses, and a zebra.  She served as a flight attendant and holds a pilot’s license.  Among her many careers, Barbara has been an astronaut, a doctor, and a NASCAR driver, an Olympic gymnast, a news anchor, and a teacher of sign language, Spanish, dance, art, and elementary education.

Unlike most of her kind in those early days, Barbie came on the scene as an adult.  Her producer, Ruth Handler, had watched her daughter play with paper dolls, and often giving them adult roles to play.  Mattel was not favorable of the adult doll idea at first, but Ruth returned a year later from a trip to Germany where she purchased 3 “Lilli” dolls.

She gave one of the dolls to her daughter, Barbara, and the other two to Mattel.  Ruth then redesigned her original idea based on “Lilli” and Barbie made her debut at the American International Toy Fair on March 9, 1959.  Mattel bought the rights to Lilli, and many careers, outfits, accessories, and friends later, Barbie still enjoys a high profit following.

She originally sold for around 3 dollars, and nearly 350,000 were purchased in her first year.  So, how much is she worth today?  A mint boxed Barbie from 1959 sold for $3552.50 on eBay in October 2004!  Today’s average Barbie collector is a female in her 40’s who spends nearly $1000 annually purchasing Barbie products.

You may be thinking by now, “This guy knows way too much about dolls!”  Well, I am not a Barbie enthusiast, and the above information is not the result of my personal knowledge of her history.  I do find it remarkable, however, that she has managed to overcome more than 20 law suits and controversies during her lifetime, yet continues to thrive as a profitable, marketable product.

Of course, it is the genius of Mattel that actually managed to fight through the many legal and public relations battles over the years on her behalf.  But consider how many thousands of products have been laid to rest over much less of a fuss.  Apparently, there is something about Barbie’s “character” that continues to win public appeal.

Is there something of your character that holds sway among your peers?  Is there something of the genuine “you” that is able to rise above conflict, ridicule, criticism, and oppression?  In the Bible, the man Job discovered the key to such character amid his trials and tests.  He declared,

“When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.  My feet have closely followed His steps; I have kept to His way without turning aside…I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread.”

In the book of Proverbs we read this exhortation: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Eyes 2 See

January 22, 2014

It’s kinda funny, in a way, the things we see.  A friend recently posted a picture of an interesting building and quizzed his readers, “Do you know where I’m at?”  The responses were varied, and some were quite humorous.  Amazingly, several responders correctly identified the location.

But my very first reaction to the question, “Do you know where I’m at?” was, “English 101!”  There were a couple of other comments about that grammatical structure of the question.  My actual post to the question was, “No, but keep looking around.  You’ll recognize something familiar eventually!”

Another somewhat comical answer was, “Behind a dirty window!”  There appeared to be some kind of haze in the picture, and may well have been taken from indoors.

Well, some of us saw the question.  Others saw the quality of the photo.  Still others, the majority, saw the building in the photo, and made their guess accordingly.  Yes, it’s kinda funny, sometimes, what we see.

The challenging story in the Bible of the man named Job comes to a close with his awesome declaration:  My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. (42:5)

A personal experience with the Living God changes our perspective; our worldview, our understanding of faith and religion, our acceptance of others, and a true picture of ourselves.  It is one thing to be religious, but quite another to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  In Him, we go from hearing to seeing; from knowing about Him to knowing and experiencing Him.

Paul Baloche penned these lyrics which shout out my daily desire: Open the eyes of my heart Lord, open the eyes of my heart; I want to see You, I want to see You!