Subject to Criminal Investigation

Thursday I was on the living room floor de-cluttering, sorting through a box of documents as my parents, always watchful for people coming and going in the neighborhood, began to discuss a couple of cars pulling in behind our house. “They are getting out. There are three people. They are coming around to the front door”. Dad went to the door. They asked for Luke Myers. Dad said I was at home. They asked to come in. Three detectives in body armor walked in. They refused to take a seat, said they were from the Casa Grande police department, and appeared to be in a very serious mood. After confirming I was Luke Myers, they asked to speak with me alone. When asked for explanation, they again suggested I step aside to speak alone. I didn’t feel like a private interview, and wanted my parents to hear whatever was to be said, so the detectives agreed to proceed.

A theater in Casa Grande reported that someone had been purchased gift cards online with stolen credit card info. The IP address the theater had logged was controlled by my Internet Service Provider (ISP). In response to a subpoena, my ISP said the subscriber corresponding to that IP address was their customer Luke Myers.

The detectives asked whether anyone else had used my computer, whether anyone else had used my wireless, and they asked to search my room, our office, for the theater’s gift cards. I was unsure how to answer. After all, there are 10,000 ways for me to unknowingly implicate myself. Would consenting to a search be taking another brick from the foundation of civil liberty and government accountability? Dad helped me decide by urging me to consent. I consented and they searched.

After at searching for at least a half hour, finding nothing, and then brainstorming for another thirty minutes about who might have committed the fraud, the detectives thanked us and left. I left with the following takeaway: when civil authorities fulfill their rightful roles of punishing evildoers and praising them that do well (2 Peter 1:19),

1.) It is good to convince a court of your innocence, and better to convince an investigator,

2.) There is no harm in letting the law come to you. There is no necessity in advancing to meet it or attempting elude it. “If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.” Ecclesiates 10:4, and

3.) it now seems necessary, unfortunately, to lock down your wireless networks, allowing only explicitly authorized users whom you can reasonably trust.

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Deadly Scripture

The Word of God acts faster than a bullet, is more accurate than a laser, penetrates deeper than an x-ray, is aimed with a thought, and is fired by a word.

It is the weapon of choice for the arch combatants of the universe. In direct assault upon the first Adam, Satan began his offensive by quoting God’s word. After thousands of years and millions men, he again reaches for the same weapon when attacking Jesus. In response, the second Adam, the creator of the universe, one with the Father, who could have sent a lightening bolt or summoned more than twelve legions of angels, parried Satan’s four attacks with four references to God’s Word.

God’s word is the difference between the way of the wicked and the path of the just. It is the difference between a dark path of stumbling and injury where the obstacles are never even identified, for the “wicked know not at what they stumble”, and a path of dawning light that “shineth more and more unto the perfect day”.

How do we train for combat with the Word of God?

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Wisdom Conversion Ratio

Feed conversion ratio is an important metric when comparing livestock. The animal with the best feed conversion ratio is that animal which grows fastest and is most profitable with equal amounts of feed.

As humans, ours is not a race to grow, but a race to learn — to learn as much as possible in limited time. Solomon had a good wisdom conversion ratio. Looking at ants, he learned a lesson for the lazy. Passing a neglected field, he found inspiration for the book of Proverbs. Each of us encounter countless scenes of industry, of ruin, of wisdom. From which do we learn — of which are we ignorant?

Oh Lord, please give us a good wisdom conversion ratio, deriving valuable lessons from the scenes of life!

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The Boat — Peter’s Testimony

I owned a little boat a while ago,
And sailed the morning sea without a fear,
And whither any breeze might fairly blow
I steered my little craft afar or near.
Mine was the boat
And mine the air,
And mine the sea,
Nor mine a care.

My boat became my place of mighty toil,
I sailed at evening to the fishing ground,
At morn my boat was freighted with the spoil
Which my all-conquering work had found.
Mine was the boat
And mine the net,
And mine the skill
And power to get.

One day there came along that silent shore,
While I my net was casting in the sea,
A man who spoke as never man before;
I followed Him; new life began in me.
Mine was the boat,
But His the voice,
And His the call,
Yet mine the choice.

Ah!’twas a fearful night out on the lake,
And all my skill availed not, at the helm,
Till Him asleep I waked, crying, “Take
Thou the helm–lest water overwhelm!”
And His the boat,
And His the sea,
And His the peace
O’er all and me.

Once from the boat he taught the curious throng
Then bade me cast my net into the sea;
I murmured but obeyed, Nor was it long
Before the catch amazed and humbled me.
His was the boat,
And His the skill.
And His the catch,
And His my will.

George MacDonald

Sea of Galilee Boat 1898

About the Author
“George MacDonald (1824-1905) was a Scottish novelist and poet. Born in West Aberdeenshire, he attended Aberdeen University and eventually became a Congregationalist pastor at Arundel. Rejected by his audiences as lacking dogmatic fervor, he soon gave up his pastorship and turned to writing, producing some 50 volumes. The climate of Italy, where he lived for a while with his six sons and five daughters, favored his frail health.”

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Dogmatic to Diplomat — Ben Franklin’s Journey

By Dale Carnegie, excerpted from his book How to Win Friends and Influence People.

One day, when Ben Franklin was a blundering youth, an old Quaker friend took him aside and lashed him with a few stinging truths, something like this: Ben, you are impossible. Your opinions have a slap in them for everyone who differs with you. They have become so offensive that nobody cares for them. Your friends find they enjoy themselves better when you are not around. You know so much that no man can tell you anything. Indeed, no man is going to try, for the effort would lead only to discomfort and hard work. So you are not likely ever to know any more than you do now, which is very little.

One of the finest things I know about Ben Franklin is the way he accepted that smarting rebuke. He was big enough and wise enough to realize that it was true, to sense that he was headed for failure and social disaster. So he made a right-about-face. He began immediately to change his insolent, opinionated ways.

“I made it a rule,” said Franklin, “to forbear all direct contradiction to the sentiment of others, and all positive assertion of my own, I even forbade myself the use of every word or expression in the language that imported a fix’d opinion, such as ‘certainly,’ ‘undoubtedly,’ etc., and I adopted, instead of them, ‘I conceive,’ ‘I apprehend,’ or ‘I imagine’ a thing to be so or so, or ‘it so appears to me at present.’

When another asserted something that I thought an error, I deny’d myself the pleasure of contradicting him abruptly, and of showing immediately some absurdity in his proposition: and in answering I began by observing that in certain cases or circumstances his opinion would be right, but in the present case there appear’d or seem’d to me some difference, etc. I soon found the advantage of this change in my manner; the conversations I engag’d in went on more pleasantly. The modest way in which I propos’d my opinions procur’d them a readier reception and less contradiction; I had less mortification when I was found to be in the wrong, and I more easily prevaile’d with others to give up their mistakes and join with me when I happened to be in the right.

“And this mode, which I at first put on with some violence to natural inclination, became at length so easy, and so habitual to me, that perhaps for these fifty years past no one has ever heard a dogmatical expression escape me. And to this habit (after my character of integrity) I think it principally owing that I had earned so much weight with my fellow citizens when I proposed new institutions, or alterations in the old, and so much influence in public councils when I became a member; for I was but a bad speaker, never eloquent, subject to much hesitation in my choice of words, hardly correct in language, and yet I generally carried my points.”

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Abigail’s Speech – Template for Persuasion

Abigail’s speech stopped an army, averted murder, and resulted in marriage. From the transcript, 1) Abigail accepts responsibility that is not hers, 2) showcases her familiarity with David’s motives and circumstances, and 3) correctly uses emotional prediction to persuade David not to murder the men of Nabal’s house. Abigail showed her mettle as a wise woman and a meek and true leader. Tailoring her words to David’s future as prophesied by Samuel, she said,

And it shall come to pass, when the LORD shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel; That this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself….

If Abigail had defended herself, while distancing herself from Nabal’s perversity, David might have kept his angry path. How many times have I used a fleeting and pivotal moment to defend myself, proclaiming my own goodness (Pro 20:6), rather than seeking to understand/encourage/persuade/influence another. Abigail’s example inspires!

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I’d Rather be a Christian

As I grew up, our family fellowshipped with a variety of groups including non-denominational, Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist, and home church groups. Each group focused on a favorite subset of Biblical truth. Each group would identify with their focus truth. For example, the name Seventh Day Adventist means a person who observes the sabbath of the Bible, and anticipates Christ’s second coming or Advent. A Baptist, on the other hand, adheres to believer’s baptism, rather than infant baptism.

True, the Bible promises Christ’s return and teaches the seventh day sabbath and believer’s baptism. Yet, which is greater, to identify with a particular truth, or in Jesus, the Truth Incarnate? To identify with a particular teaching, or with the Teacher himself?

Paul chided the believers in Corinth saying, “every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.” In Paul’s day, you might identify with Paul, Apollos, Peter, or Christ. Today, we may add Luther, Piper, Spurgeon, Calvin, and others. Almost two thousand years later, there are at least as many more good men and movements with which to align. I could label myself a Baptist, or Seventh Day Adventist, or Methodist, or Lutheran; each of those labels are packed with meaning and rich history. Yet, in two thousand years, I find no label to eclipse, replace, or refine the “Christian” label. Like many things of value, its virtue has been maligned, its meaning counterfeit, and its reputation borrowed, yet its value unmatched.

I want to be a Christian in the sense in which the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch where a Christian is someone who believed Christ, lived for Him, and would die for Him.

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