Successful Marriage 101 (Sweet repeat from April 7, 2018)

My wife and I have been married for 45 years.  These days this length of time sounds like some kind of record.  At the least, it merits a trophy of some sort.  Among our peers we don’t know many couples who have done likewise.

People may look at us and think we have it pretty easy, which in turn makes them feel our marriage is successful as a result.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Our marriage has had its ups and downs–just like every marriage that has ever existed.  We aren’t immune to differences of opinion, arguments, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, etc.  Like most, we’ve had those big-time “for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health” valley and mountain experiences.  We know what’s good today may be bad tomorrow, and vice versa.  It’s just the way life works.

The difference-maker for us is that we are committed to each other.  We were puppies when we got married.  In looking back all those years ago, it’s sort of scary now thinking about just how young, inexperienced, and naive we were.  Nonetheless, we vowed to each other in the presence of God and our relatives and friends that we would remain together for all our lives.  Still today it’s something we don’t take for granted and we regard very seriously.

The picture I’m trying to paint is that our marriage is pretty normal.  About the same number of marriages fail as those that succeed.  In reflecting on what makes the difference, I think the underlying principle is pretty simple.  It’s actually something that I have oftentimes shared with a young couple about to marry.  You can read all the marriage books in the world, but there is one key to making it all work, and I’m sharing it with you now.

Love your spouse more than you love yourself.  Love Jesus more than you love your spouse.

That’s it!  Granted, it’s sometimes difficult to follow this simple principle, but accept my advice that it works.  I don’t know of anything else that can have a more profound and positive impact on making a marriage work.




What’s this? (Sweet repeat from March 18, 2018)

Initial readers of this website will most likely be people who know me–relatives, friends, business associates, church family, cancer survivors, etc. I can see them looking at this page and wondering “what’s up with Don”? It’s a reasonable thought.

Two events turned my life upside down. In 2006 my wife had a widower-maker heart attack that would have killed most anyone, but she survived as a result of the Good Lord providing some natural bypasses. In response, I left the corporate life; we moved to a tranquil area and slowed down; I worked part-time for myself as a consulting engineer (and still do today.) The second shoe dropped in late 2010 when a doctor informed me that I had cancer, and his prognosis was pretty gruesome. This bad experience turned out to be an incredible blessing. (If you’re interested, you can go to the Calming the Storm section of this website to find out more about it.)

Here’s the reality. At 70 years old, I’m in the last stage of my life. None of us know how long we’ll reside on this planet. I’m a little intimidated by the knowledge that my paternal grandfather, maternal grandfather, father, and brother all died at age 73. My genetic link to them may spell a similar fate or I may live a shorter or longer time span.

I believe in life after death–absolutely, positively, unequivocally, beyond any shadow of a doubt. My (and your) eternal destiny is based entirely on the person of Jesus Christ. Two millennia ago He ascended from Bethany on the Mount of Olives. The last directive that He gave the disciples is known as the Great Commission: “. . . go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit . . .” Jesus wasn’t just speaking to the people who could hear him at the time. His message is for us, too. We are to make disciples.

This website reflects a modest contribution toward fulfilling the Great Commission. Here you have my explanation for “What’s this?”

July 14, 2018, status report

The impulse for this website originated in summer 2015 (and three years passed before it became a reality.)   I felt a need, a desire, a calling to reach more people for Jesus Christ.  After all, His last command to us at His ascension was to make disciples.  Everyone should endeavor to do what He instructed mankind to do.   

When this idea emerged, the World Wide Web added more domain extensions, including “.community”.  On the very first day of this offering, I purchased the domain of   In my opinion, it’s a very strong name that with some cultivation should emerge high on search engines with SEO techniques.  My vision was and still remains to gain a huge number of regular readers and make disciples.  It takes time and money to make it work.  

The website has been partially successful, but far short of my hopes and expectations.  A major issue is people simply not knowing about it.  I’ve admittedly done a poor job of getting the word out, and hoping for others to inform their friends and relatives has been modestly successful.  I certainly appreciate those who have done so.  Unfortunately, most people–even devout Christians–do not promote Jesus Christ for fear or embarrassment or whatever reason.    

I’ve spoken with the two churches that my wife and I attend regularly, and neither one has actively promoted the website, even in the simplest manner possible–e.g., just writing the web address in the weekly bulletin.  One was “all in” and then changed its mind for the bulk of its involvement.  The other responded positively, but hasn’t done anything yet other than informing one of the small groups about it.  I’m hopeful that minds will be opened for them to become involved in the future.    

This website has lived up to its promise of being dynamic with something new every single day since its inception.  It started on Palm Sunday, so it has about three months of history behind it.  I’m now able to track the readership.  I find it humorous that it falls well short of the number of people who’ve told me that they read it regularly!  Perhaps this reality will spawn a future devotional.  

I feel that I’m preaching to the choir in the devotionals and blogs.  The website is reaching a few believers, but I don’t sense that it’s making new disciples.  For the next few days I’m going to work on how to publicize this website for broader distribution.  In the meantime, I’ll repost some of the best devotionals of the past few weeks and clearly indicate in the title that they are repeats.  This won’t impact new readers to the site.  

If my friends and relatives who know how to contact me have any suggestions for improving this website or gaining greater readership, please let me know.  I’d put my personal email address here, but with hundreds (over 720 so far) of hacking attempts to damage this website, I’m not inclined to provide any information that may help hackers.

Thanks for your consideration!  Pray that this website will take the best direction to meet whatever the good Lord has planned for it.  

Truthful attorneys–an oxymoron for many in the profession

I have known many attorneys over the years.  There’re some good ones and plenty of bad ones.  Most people have only a little exposure in working with them.  I wish that I could say the same, but I’ve had plenty of experience.    

Here’s my rub with bad attorneys–a big one that is a major irritant to me.  Keep in mind that I wrote “bad”.  Bottom line:  they lie like dogs.  In interrogatories, depositions, and examinations, they pose misleading and misdirecting questions.  Using the answers provided, they try to make white look like black and black look like white.  In most litigations, the actual situation is a shade of gray.  

When one testifies in court, all witnesses are sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  Guess who is under no obligation to be truthful?  You know it:  the attorneys.  They can and do say just about anything imaginable to win for their client.  It’s not about what’s right or wrong, but what’s best–even lying–to convince the judge and jury to see things their way.  

Years ago I favored capital punishment, not just the use of the electric chair, but electric bleachers.  I saw no point to housing hundreds of felons facing death penalties and society having to finance the preservation of their lives. Two things changed my mind:  the emergence of DNA evidence, and the untruthfulness of attorneys.  

We’ve all read stories about persons serving years in prison who were subsequently exonerated by DNA evidence proving their innocence.  What caused them to be in prison in the first place?  Zealous prosecuting attorneys have been the primary cause.  The legal system in these cases has failed due to a disregard of the truth.  

I believe in justice.  For cases deserving of the death sentence when the evidence is absolutely, positively, irrefutably rock-solid, the guilty deserve to face the music.  These instances should be few and far between.  As a believer, I know who’s the ultimate judge, and as Paul Harvey once said, “God in His infinite wisdom and mercy created hell.”  

To all the good attorneys out there, I tip my hat to you.  Society needs your services and dedication.  I have always enjoyed working with you.  As a tip to people who only need an attorney rarely, be mindful that the professionals don’t advertise on television, newspapers, billboards, and grocery carts.   

Learning about relationships

Many unmarried couples communicate openly on social media like Facebook.  Rather than keeping their thoughts about a relationship private, they decide to share them with everyone.  I have no idea why anyone would do this, but it’s rather common.  

No offense, but it’s the females 99% of the time.  It seems to be worse among young people in their late teens or early 20s.  Some seem to never learn from their experiences.  They drift from relationship to relationship and repeat the same mistakes every single time.  It’s stunning to me that they can’t figure out the error of their ways.  What’s really sad is to see this same issue with people who are older.   

Here’s some real advice that should help young people.  It’s so blatantly obvious that they should know it already, but many haven’t figured it out.  It’s really simple:  young women give sex to gain love; young men give love to gain sex.  Does it make sense?  Of course it does!

What’s the best behavior to find a spouse?  Just follow the guidance of the Bible.  It’s about love and respect, and chastity until marriage.  

Pet peeves

What are your pet peeves?  I confess to having a few.  On examination, it’s pretty obvious that they relate to spiritual principles.  Have you ever thought about yours in this way?  For example, here are a few of mine:

Lying.  It’s one human behavior deserving of zero tolerance.  I know some otherwise fine people who skirt on the edge of honesty.  They twist the facts, omit key information or downright tell little fibs, just to help themselves or situations look better or worse depending on their point-of-view.  The tragedy is that they don’t realize it’s still lying and produces a negative impact on their lives–e.g., losing the respect of friends and families who are on to them.  

Stealing.  Don’t get me started on this one!  It’s a horrible characteristic that permeates most of society.  We’re all familiar with the big and obvious stealing that occurs.  However, it also applies to the little and not-so-obvious stealing,  Most people are thieves to some degree!  Don’t commit to your paid work as you should–it’s stealing.  Take some office supplies home from work–it’s stealing.  Not returning something you borrow–it’s stealing.  Noticing an error in a store or restaurant not charging you for something you purchase without correcting the error–it’s stealing.  Picking flowers or removing plants from someone’s property without permission–it’s stealing.  Using some entity’s registered logos to make items to sell–it’s stealing.  There are hundreds of examples.

Littering.  This one was my dad’s #1 pet peeve.  It’s disheartening to drive and see litter on the ground–paper, bottles, trash of all kinds.  Oftentimes it can be dangerous, too.  

Damaging property.  Many people knowingly damage others’ property and make zero effort to inform the owner and take responsibility for their actions.  On a recent trip we discovered a strip of paint rubbed off of our car bumper, creating the first mark on our car in three years of ownership and resulting in a repair.  We arrived at our Townsend home to find big truck had backed into our split rails and disturbed the landscaping.  A pest company sprayed our home for boring bees but omitted doing the SW corner, which was subsequently damaged as a result.  

I could mention other pet peeves as I’m certain you could, too.  Every example I’ve cited shows a violation of some spiritual principle.  I think it’s safe to say that as our country continues its moral spiral downward, these kinds of things will become even more prominent.  

What are your pet peeves?  Do you see the spiritual connection?  

Confusion in understanding the Bible

I confess.  Sometimes what I read in the Bible seems quite confusing.  For example, take the issue of adultery.  God clearly specified that it’s not right beginning with the Ten Commandments.  Also, He stated what marriages are not allowable–namely, among family members.  

When you read about the kings of Judah and Israel, they’re labeled as being right in the eyes of the Lord or being evil in the eyes of the Lord.  The primary distinction in the two categories relates to whether or not they worshipped God or a false god.  However, when it came to marriage and adultery and incest, these guys seemed to receive a free pass.  A king could have many wives and concubines; also, marriage to a relative didn’t appear to be a problem.  Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.  Most of them came from tribes that the Israelites weren’t supposed to marry.  What gives?  

Another example of a confusing story to me is Balaam’s donkey, as recorded in Numbers 22-23.  Balak of the Moabites summoned Balaam to meet with him for a prophecy session.  Balak sent two men to retrieve Balaam.  God instructed Balaam to to with the two men.  En route, an angel interfered with his travel, and Balaam started beating the donkey he was riding.  Miraculously, it complained by speaking to Balaam, whose eyes were opened to see the angel blocking the path.  Balaam acknowledged sinning by going on this trip and said he’d turn around and go back.  The angel responded by informing him to go with the two men to meet Balak.  In summary, God instructed Balaam to go with the two men; then His angel stopped Balaam; Balaam agreed to turn around and return home; finally, His angel told Balaam to go with the two men.  Go, stop, turn around, go–I don’t get it.  

I could cite more examples, but you get the picture.  Does my confusion suggest the Bible contains some errors, poor translation, etc.  Not in the least.  It simply means my understanding falls short.  Perhaps with more study I’ll figure out both of these examples.  

If you’re confused by the Bible, don’t dismay.  You’ve joined the club of people who are still studying and learning.  Happy reading!  

What about the Ark?

You should know the lengthy story of the Ark of the Covenant until it finally arrived in Solomon’s temple on Mt. Zion. The Ark contained the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s rod with buds, and a pot of manna.  It’s not a fable, as the history is well documented.

The Babylonians destroyed the Temple in 587 B.C., and that’s when the Ark disappeared.  Have you ever wondered about it today?  Does it still exist?  If so, where is it located?  If discovered, what would happen?  Would it still possess tremendous power?  The questions are mind-boggling.  

Believe it or not, there are many theories about the Ark still existing and its location.  The least likely places are Zimbabwe, France, Rome, USA, England, and Ireland, but there are folks who believe in all these locations.  The big three choices are underneath the Temple Mount, a church in Ethiopia, and heaven.  

I find the possibility of it being underneath the Temple Mount really intriguing.  The Temple Mount is controlled by Muslims while the Israelis have the Western Wall, which dates to the Second Temple.  A passionate group of Israelis have attempted tunneling underneath the Temple Mount to find the Ark, but when discovered, the Muslims shut it down.  Years ago two Rabbis claimed to have been close enough to see it before they were stopped.  Can you imagine what would happen if the Jews succeeded in finding the Ark?  I think it’d be accurate to state that the Al-Aqsa Mosque would be destroyed for construction of the Third Temple.  Of course, this action would cause a widespread war in the Middle East.        

Another theory is that the Ark made its way to Ethiopia where it resides in the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Axum, which belongs to the denomination known as the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.  Every church in this denomination contains an Ark replica, and it’s sincere in its belief.  However, they won’t allow anyone to see it.  Is this protection against a fraud being revealed or does the Ark still possess unusual powers that prohibit viewing by others?  

A third possible location is heaven.  By human standards this idea is impossible, but not by God’s standards!  The question that comes to my mind is what purpose does it serve?  God and Jesus are present in heaven.  Why would the Ark also be there?  Before you discount such a thought, know that Revelation 11:19 states,  “Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant.”    

My guess is that it’s in heaven.  I don’t know why, but since this location is cited in the Bible, I certainly have no basis for claiming anywhere else.  


The past 12 years my wife and I have lived adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  It’s one of the most beautiful natural places on earth.  This park possesses an  incredible variety of flora and fauna–far more species than the entire continent of Europe.  

Yesterday we took a 6-1/2 hour birding hike led by an ornithologist in Cades Cove, a popular section formerly occupied by Appalachian people over a century ago.  It’s a place of picture postcards and jigsaw puzzles.  About 40 species of birds live in this cove year-round.  Another 100 species migrate through there.  If you know anything about birding, you’ll immediately recognize that this is an incredible number.  During this outing we heard and observed 38 different bird species–not too shabby!

One aspect really stood out to me.  Anywhere we stopped in the cove to find birds, their food (seeds, insects, etc.) existed in incredible abundance.  They simply had to gather it.  We didn’t observe any emaciated birds.  

This experience reminded me of what Jesus taught in Matthew 5:26:  “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.”  Today’s bird-watching certainly provided a clear illustration of what Jesus said. 

The Bible is an ancient book, but it has incredible application for us today.  When you read the stories it contains, especially the teachings of Jesus, try to apply them to your everyday life experiences.  It will cause a connection. 


Tolerance is an overused word today.  It carries questionable political correctness, which is unfortunate.  Why?  Because its definition has changed!

Not too many years ago tolerance indicated acceptance of opinions different from one’s own, but it didn’t mean that one agreed with them.  Today it’s different.  Tolerance means that all opinions are equally valid and truthful.  If one disagrees, that individual is now defined as intolerant, bigoted, ignorant, racist, etc.  How tragic that language has changed to fit the social and political nonsense spewed today!  

Just because one person’s opinion is different doesn’t make it true.  I believe the earth is round.  Others believe the earth is flat.  I tolerate their belief, but in no way is it equal to my own.  Today’s definition of tolerance is that round-earthers and flat-earthers beliefs are equally valid.  What nonsense!  

This comment will raise a few eyebrows.  Many people believe there are multiple paths to God, and it really doesn’t matter if one is Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, etc.  I tolerate the other belief systems, but in no shape, form or fashion do I accept them as truth.  Quite the opposite–they are inherently evil because they worship false gods.  Nonetheless, I accept practitioners’ rights to exercise their religion.  I have several friends of non-Christian faiths, and they are fine people–just misguided.

Don’t be so open-minded to other theologies that you brain falls out.  There is only one path to God, and that is through Jesus Christ.