BEWARE THE FINE PRINT

 

My sister would never take medication until she read the fine print on the packaging.  Then she wouldn’t take it at all.  By law, pharmaceutical firms are required to list every possible side effect whether or not it has ever been suffered.  Last, on many of these lists of side effects, is the word “death.”

June was always sure she would be the one who would fall victim to these unusual exceptions.  Hence, no medication, even if it would save her life.

I took her to the dentist a few days ago.  While filling out her “new patient” files, I read through a long list of illnesses which might or might not trouble her.  I was supposed to check off the ones that applied to June.  I had to laugh, when I realized that she was not troubled by any of these frightening maladies.  There were no checkmarks.  Me?  I would have had to check off at least six items.  It seems that reading the fine print has served my sister well.

Reading the fine print is indispensible in our times, for institutions and businesses are forever seeking ways to protect themselves from their own tricky practices.

I recently, after less than a week, returned a piece of equipment, for which I had paid cash.  The equipment had never been used and still sported its original tags.  I was told that I must forfeit 25 % of the purchase price.  When I objected, the salesman pulled out the paper work showing me the fine print.  Suffice it to say, “He had not directed my attention to that clause, when I made the purchase.”

A few years back, I went to the local Honda dealer ready to buy a new car. Actually, I am leery of car salesmen, but I knew exactly what I wanted, and I went armed with needed information.  Sitting down with the salesman, I told him what I wanted, and then I said, “Give me the bottom line.  I want to know exactly what I will pay.  I don’t want any surprises later.”

Then we went to look at cars, and I found the perfect one.  Returning to the sales room, we sat again at the desk, and the salesman added up the cost.  Taking the original amount he had quoted me, he began to add this and that and the other. “No, No, No!” I said, “I asked you for the bottom line.” “Yes, but then there is this and there is that, and…” he replied.

“Please give me my keys,” I demanded.

“But why,” he asked.

“Because I going home.  I don’t deal with dishonest people,” and I turned and left.

The next morning I received a call from the manager of the Honda Dealership.  He wanted to apologize hoping he could still sell me a car, but I was finished with them.

It is only smart to be cautious these days for we can no longer accept a man’s handshake as insurance against fraud.  Businesses have found a way to circumvent the courts and ban people from joining together in class action law suits by adding to the “fine print” a clause that says, “They may elect to resolve claims by INDIVIDUAL arbitration,” and that clause is always and only in the “fine print.”

The upshot is that it is nearly impossible for an individual to take on a multi-billion dollar corporation.  There is no way to win.

Now-a-days, it is difficult to apply for a credit card, use a cell phone, get cable or internet service, or shop on line without agreeing to private arbitration.  The same applies to getting a job, renting a car or placing a relative in a nursing home.

I must admit that my problems in this area have been minimal.  However many people have suffered big losses, but what are we to do?  We can continue to do business, (as we must) ignore the possibilities, and believe that everything will be all right, and for the most part, I guess, it will be.  Yet, I hate feeling that I must always be on guard lest I be cheated, so I am learning to “READ THE FINE PRINT!!!”

Companies have essentially made it impossible for an individual to challenge them.  Business has a good chance of ignoring the legal system all together and doing as it pleases without dire consequences.

It is disappointing, frustrating and hurtful to acknowledge that there are so many untrustworthy people and agencies in our society today.

Thank God!  There is still one in whom we can trust, for there is no “fine print” in God’s word.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your paths.”

In Proverbs 30:5, we are told, “Every word of God is pure…”

Again, John 17:17 tells us, “…Your Word is truth.”

Matthew 24:35 declares, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My (God’s) words will by no means pass away.”

“TRUST IN THE LORD, AND DON’T DISPAIR…,” and READ THE FINE PRINT!

 

Remember the sun will come out tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT’S SO GOOD ABOUT FRIDAY?

WHAT’S SO GOOD ABOUT FRIDAY?

As a public school teacher more than fifty years ago, I still remember the clang of the dismissal bell on Friday afternoon, and the sense of relief that washed over me, as the last little hiney wiggled out the door.  Sitting at my desk I savored that brief moment, when those stress fighting endorphins were released flowing to the very tips of my toes relaxing every fiber of my being.

Actually, I enjoyed teaching, and I loved my little urchins, and at the same time, I was ecstatic that I wouldn’t be required to look into their shining faces again for another sixty hours or so.

TGIF!  Thank Goodness it’s Friday, or Thank God it’s Friday!

This well known, well used phrase is said to date back to 1941, at Ohio State University, where a group of undergraduates formed a booster club and named it “Thank God it’s Friday.” Doesn’t that sound just like a bunch of college kids?

While the phrase TGIF can trace its origin to the heartland of America, there are slight narrations or other equivalents used by peoples around the world.   No matter how it is said, each expression serves to celebrate the end of the work week or school week anticipating a week-end of fun and relaxation–no school, no work, more sleep, and family time.

My favorite time is Saturday afternoon—an afternoon, when there is absolutely nothing required of me.  I don’t have to get dressed.  I don’t have to put on makeup.  I can sleep, read, eat, watch T.V. or do nothing.

Sadly, those afternoons are very scarce—almost none existent.  It is my understanding that, for many if not most people, weekends are every bit as stressful as any other day.  All responsibilities that cannot be discharged Monday through Friday must be squeezed into the weekend, and we return to work on Monday more tired than when we left.

Truth is, stress has become one of the main ingredients of life, and there seems no way to avoid it.  Medications, psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists really have no lasting effect.

So!  What is so good about Friday?

Friggatriskaidekaphobia is the fear of Friday the 13th.  Some say this day has been associated with misfortune since the 13 hundreds.  Seems the fear is very real affecting millions of people, and it is estimated that businesses, especially airlines, suffer from severe loss on Friday the 13th.

For the fearful there is no escape, for all years will have at least one Friday the 13th, but cheer up, there will never be more than three in one calendar year.  Friday, September 13, 2019 is the next.  Mark it on your calendar.

Others believe the myth has a Biblical origin, citing the fact that Jesus was crucified on a Friday, and there were thirteen guests at the Last Supper the night before the crucifixion.

However, I must tell you that, rather than being the source of fear, Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, on the third day, was and is the only source of hope and redemption for mankind.

Let me tell you the story.  It is found in the Gospel of John, chapters 18 and 19.  Read it for yourself.  After Jesus had prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane following the last meal with His disciples, like a criminal, He was arrested.  Early on Friday morning He stood before Caiaphas, the High Priest.  Then He was taken to Pilate, the Roman Governor of Judaea.  Upon the insistence of the Jews and their leaders, Pilate finally released Jesus to them to be crucified.  He was beaten, and a crown of thorns jammed upon His head.  Robed in purple bearing His own cross, He was led to Calvary, where He was crucified between two thieves.

Jesus’ death was the sure fire, fool proof, unassailable, guaranteed, fail-safe, never-failing antidote for this world’s wickedness, hurt, sadness, failure, and, YES, the stress that results from the mess we have made.

On that Friday morning, when Jesus committed Himself to this horrendous death on the cross, when He said, “It is finished,” and bowed His head and died, the Spiritual Endorphins, His own precious blood, flowed from Calvary providing forgiveness, peace, rest, hope and healing for the weary soul—Redemption for all mankind.

Jesus’ last words, “It is finished,” were words signifying that God’s work was complete.  This sinless man had been obedient to the Father’s plan sacrificing His very life.  Nothing else need be done.  He did it all for you.  He did it all for me.  The only piece left in this puzzle is our acceptance of the sacrifice He made.

So, what’s so good about Friday?

This Friday in particular points forward to new life beginning on resurrection morning, when Jesus arose from the grave.  That’s what’s so good about Friday!

Matthew 28: 5-6.  “But the angel answered and said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.  Come see the place, where the Lord lay.’”

The old song says:

“He lives.  He lives. Christ Jesus lives today.

He walks with me and talks with me

Along life’s narrow way.

He lives.  He lives salvation to impart.

You ask me how I know He lives.

He lives within my heart.”

 

BLESSED GOOD FRIDAY and GLORIOUS EASTER to YOU!

 

 

Remember, the sun will come out tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APRIL FOOLS’ DAY

Little is known about the origin of this April tradition, but the predominant theory dates from about 1582, the year France adopted the Gregorian calendar, which switched the beginning of the year from what’s now the end of March to the first of January.  Some folks, out of ignorance or stubbornness or both, continued to ring in the New Year on April 1.   They were made the target of jokes and pranks on account of their foolishness.  Hence, they were April Fools.

The custom of setting aside a day for the playing of harmless pranks upon one’s neighbors has historically been relatively common around the world.  It’s supposed to be fun, but I wonder.

As well as people playing pranks on one another on April Fools’ Day, elaborate practical jokes have appeared on radio and TV stations, and in newspapers, and have been performed by large corporations.  In one famous prank, The BBC broadcast a film in their current affairs series claiming to show Swiss farmers picking freshly grown spaghetti, in what they called “The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest.”

The BBC was overwhelmed with requests to purchase a spaghetti plant forcing them to admit the film was a hoax.

In 1938, on Halloween Eve, “War of the Worlds,” a science fiction novel by H.G. Wells, was dramatized on a CBS radio program.  At the beginning, it was announced that the program was an adaptation of this novel.  However, it caused panic for those listeners, who tuned in late, not knowing the Martian invasion was fictional.

This panic was bolstered by fictitious news bulletins, which periodically interrupted the broadcast.  “Odd explosions observed on Mars, A strange cylindrical object falling from the sky, Martians using heat rays, War machines spouting poisonous gas.”

The program has become famous for supposedly tricking some listeners into believing that a Martian invasion was actually taking place.  Only at the thirty-minute break in the show, did people realize it was only a drama.

Widespread outrage was expressed in the media.  It was described as deceptive leading to an outcry against the broadcasters.

There are mixed opinions concerning April Fools’ Day.  Some say it is good for one’s health encouraging fun and laughter, thereby relieving strain and stress.  Others label it as being creepy and manipulative, rude and a little nasty and deceitful

Even as a fun-loving child I must admit that I don’t remember April Fools’ Day ever playing any kind of role in my life.  In a way, I was a sensitive, self-conscious child, who would not have taken kindly to pranks aimed at me, and as an adult, I will own that I still have difficulty with being the brunt of a joke.  The joke is on me, however, for this of course, makes me a prime target.

If our jokes and pranks, and hoaxes could be confined to innocent fun, all would be well, but in today’s world, hoaxes have become very serious, and hurtful.  One of the most recent examples being the fiasco in Chicago, where hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent, and hundreds of hours of law enforcement energy wasted.  You can’t laugh that one off.  You can’t slap someone on the back and shout, “April Fools!” Although, I’m imagining that the perpetrator is doing that very thing.

Our media is no longer reporting the news. It seems, at times, that they are making it up,  based on hearsay and innuendo.  Mr. Trump calls it “Fake News.” You can think what you will of him, but the press does not have the right to invent or even slant the news in one direction or another.  Talk about a hoax!

I am disturbed and confused at the climate in our country today, and I am not talking about “Global Warming.”  We have become hateful, critical, and abusive toward each other.  There was a time when we at least honored the office of our Congressmen, our President, or Supreme Court Justice.  No more!  Everyone is fair game.

Our beloved America is on a slippery slope headed downhill at breakneck speed.  We are no longer admired by the world. We are no longer held in high esteem.  We are no longer in love with ourselves.  I certainly can’t love the things that are going on today.  We can say, “I love America!”  But, we, you and I, are America.  The things we do and say—that is America.  So where does that leave us?

Remember the attack on our country on September 1, 2001?  Our Congress stood on the steps of the Capitol building singing “God Bless America.”   It was a heart bursting sight.  They were united for a brief time, but then it was back to business as usual.

In I Timothy 2:1-2, God says to us, “Here are my directions:  Pray much for others; plead for God’s mercy upon them; give thanks for all He is going to do for them.  Pray in this way for KINGS AND ALL OTHERS IN AUTHORITY over us, or are in places of high responsibility, (Presidents, congressmen, justices…) so that we can live in peace and quietness spending our time in Godly living…” LB

This is the solution to our dilemma!  This is God’s direction to us.  Pray for your family, your neighbors and our leaders, especially those whom you do not like.   PRAY!

REMEMBER, THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!