Advent, Christmas, and Hopefully a Happy New Year

Dec 8, 2016 by

Advent, Christmas, and Hopefully a Happy New Year

Now that the Advent season has begun, I am beginning to be more hopeful with each passing day. This year has been a tough one for me. I was hospitalized three times this year with heart problems. Prior to this year I had only been in the hospital twice in my life.  I spent a good portion of the year grieving over the death of my beloved dog Max. Max had been my constant companion and great source of love and happiness for 12 years. His death left a gaping hole in my heart and life. Max kept me busy.  I took him for a walk every morning and almost daily we took a ride to one of the nearby parks for another walk. His absence left me with a lot of time that I suddenly had no way to fill. I never really descended into depression, but I did find myself crying much too often. I have yet to scatter his ashes, I’m waiting for December 23rd, the day Max died, to do that.

So being festive, joyful, and happy, with Christmas this year being so close to the anniversary of Max’s death, has been something I didn’t think I would be. But strangely I am feeling the Holiday spirit in a way I never thought I would again. I have been Christmas shopping, and enjoying it, and decorating the church for Advent. While I don’t have a tree to put up myself, I have helped my friend Teresa decorate hers. While picking up poinsettia’s for church at the local nursery I really enjoyed the winter wonderland that the nursery had setup. I enjoyed last Christmas season right up until the day Max died so suddenly. I am finding that I am enjoying this one almost as much.

I am looking forward to seeing the train display that a local church is sponsoring, and looking forward to seeing my son Jason and my family for Christmas breakfast December 17th. While I still don’t have plans for Christmas day yet, I expect to have a wonderful Christmas. Max will always be a part of my Christmas, even though he is no longer with me. I choose to remember only the joy and happiness Max blessed me with, and will put away my grief as best I can.

Christmas season is by far the best season of all. The anticipation of celebrating the birth of my Savior, the Christmas  music, Christmas lights and decorations, seeing family, food, and just the very special feeling that comes only with Christmas has lifted my spirits to the highest they have been in this difficult year. I find myself busy with a myriad of things now, when for the first few months of the year I had lost interest in doing just about everything, I had put on weight because I was not taking walks with Max anymore. But now I am taking courses on Gimp2, and Adobe Lightroom through I am back out taking photographs again, as well as reading books and taking little excursions. I find myself pressed for time to do all the things I want to do where earlier in the year the days stretched emptily.

So I am thinking the New Year will be a good one. I have a new dog, Cali, a treeing walker coonhound, to keep me company as well as occupied. My days will hopefully be filled with new and exciting things to do. I plan on spending much more time reading the Bible, in prayer, and doing church business. I hope to get back to exercising more, and maybe even take a vacation somewhere exotic, or as exotic as a 67 year old man can stand. I am both thankful and hopeful.

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Orlando tragedy, gun control, and radical Islam

Jun 16, 2016 by

The radical Islam terrorist attack in Orlando has once again brought the topics of gun control and radical Islam to the national debate. Adding fuel to the furor is the fact that the site of the terrorism was a gay nightclub. This adds homophobia to the debate along with Islamophobia and the second amendment. Sadly, the last 8 years under President Obama has done little to bring clarity to any of these issues. In fact, the various positions on these topics have grown further apart, rather than heading towards some form of consensus.

What is lamentably apparent, especially on social media like Twitter, is the knee jerk jump to conclusions along with the immediate use of the tragedy to promote a particular political agenda or other world viewpoint. In too many cases it is all to apparent that there is little real anguish or grief for the horrendous loss of life. In fact often the first comments posted are immediate references to the NRA, gun control, homophobia, and how fill-in-the-blank needs to be done now to end the senseless slaughter. If my pessimism and dim view of the human condition are troubling, believe me when I say they trouble me as well. I have lived to see the citizens of our country become increasingly divided over far too many issues.

The sad truth is, there are no simple one step answers to gun violence, radical Islamic terrorism, homophobia, or Islamophobia. That should be readily apparent to anyone in light of the fact that none of these issues are simple in nature or origin. I am not going to go into detail on what I think should or can be done to address any of these issues. I am neither an expert on any of them nor do I have the time to address such complicated issues in a simple post.

What I will say is that jumping on tragedies like this and using them to call for the death of the NRA, taking away the rights of lawful citizens to own firearms, blaming Christians for homophobia, calling for all Muslims to be deported or banned from coming into the country, etc., etc., etc., are not legitimate or even rational answers to any of these issues. What needs to occur is rational, honest, civil debate and national discourse. Peoples individual rights and viewpoints need to be acknowledged during the course of this discourse. The rule of law as well as the Constitution of this great country need to be upheld. There can be no room for self-righteous anger, hatred, and intolerance.

Nothing will be resolved in 140 characters on Twitter or in a Facebook post. Communities, churches, local, state, and national government should focus on these problems and try to discern practical answers that can address these issues while still respecting the Constitution, existing laws, and the rights and freedoms of every citizen. It can and has to be done.


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Getting Old

Apr 13, 2016 by

I have always been fascinated by time. Time is one of the few things that have been equally allocated to all people. Everyone has 24 hours in a day to use as they can or desire. Money or power won’t add one minute to the day. The important thing about time is that you not waste it. No one knows the time that is allotted to them. Of course, the perceived value of time differs depending on where you are in your timeline. The young have a different awareness of time and its finite number than do the elderly.

When I was young, time was not on my mind. The future seemed endless. Death seemed something that was not applicable to me. I felt no pressing need to spend my time wisely. Now, at age 67 time has a new urgency to it. I am all to aware that my allotted portion on this earth is running out. The value of my time has become very important to me. Everything I contemplate has to take time into account now. The inevitability of death has become very clear.

I do not fear death, but I do fear wasting what time I have left to me. I have given up many things that were once deemed of value in my life as I now weigh whether what time I have left would be better spend on something else. Is this a good thing to do? I’m not sure. I just know that I value some things now that as a younger me I would not have valued so much. People always say things like if I had know I would have lived this long I would have done things differently. Is that really true? Is that a consequence of not valuing time as much when we were young?  So many questions.

It has been said that old people are really young people trapped in an old body. There is some truth to that I think. I know that mentally I never really thought of myself as old until I reached about 60. Now, when I look in the mirror, the person that is looking back is not the person I think I am. It is a stranger, an unwelcome one. The wrinkled skin, thinned hair, pudgy face belong to my Grandparents, not me. I look at photos of me in my youth and I think, where did he go? Why isn’t that what I see in the mirror in the morning?

But getting old is part of life and the most you can do is fight it is by doing all the things you can to stay young physically and mentally. But eventually, time wins out. You suddenly realize that you are the old man you never thought you would be. But it’s really not that bad a thing now is it? I mean, the alternative is even less desirable. Well, that is enough mental wandering for one day. I hope you all have a Blessed day. And don’t forget to spend your time wisely. It is your most valuable commodity.

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The State of the Union

Mar 28, 2016 by

state-of-the-union-historyNo, I am not the President of the United States. Nevertheless I feel compelled to present my own State of the Union, as I have never been accused of being introverted. The government has its take on the state of our country while the citizens of this great nation have their own. Seldom are the two in agreement on anything. The government seems to see things through rose colored glasses, which is what frequently happens when you are basically critiquing yourself. The citizens however, are critiquing those whom they voted as representatives for their interests. Things tend to be seen much more clearly from the perspective of the citizen as the state of the union is in reality about the state of us, the citizens.

Let me start with the 500 pound gorilla in the house, the economy. The President will present all sorts of statistics that demonstrate how well the economy is doing under his wonderful leadership. Has there ever been a President who painted himself as anything other than a genius when it comes to the economy? I am not an economist, I can’t easily counter with facts the claims made about the economy when statistics, presented as facts, are as tenuous as the wind. But I do know what I see, hear, and experience. What I see is 11 stores shuttered in the local mall I shop at. I see other upscale stores replaced with moon golf and Red Dragon martial arts venues. What I hear is the lady who rents from a friend of mine being unable to find steady work as a painter and having to move because she cannot pay the rent. What I experience is the young lady who is my Bible study class telling me she is desperate to find a job, any job, and yet is unable to do so. What I experience is the unbelievable cost to feed a family, pay the utilities, and pay my taxes. These events tell me that the economy is not in the state that the President says it is in, statistics be damned.

As bad as the economy may be, the moral state of our union is much more troubling. The rancor, divisiveness, intolerance, and apathy that is the hallmark of society today is far removed from what it was when I was a child. You can see this in the elections that are currently taking place across our country. Again, while politics has never been played out in a completely civil manner, the degree to which civility in politics has taken a nosedive is stunning. This decline in civility can be seen in every other aspect of our society. Racial tensions have never been higher, even with a black President. Religious intolerance, where religious protection laws are portrayed as anti-LGBT and businesses are being destroyed simply because the owners were exercising their religious beliefs, is rampant. LGBT rights are not greater than religious rights, both need to be respected.

Our national security is threatened at a level unseen since WWII. A weak, naive foreign policy, based on misguided beliefs and ideas, has emboldened our enemies while at the same time left our allies isolated, ignored, and betrayed. Our president just finished visits to Cuba and Argentina, neither of which has ever been an ally of ours, while completely ignoring the only democracy and ally we have in the Middle East, Israel. China is building artificial islands in the South China Sea and militarizing them, while Russia has committed aggressions against South Georgia, Ukraine, and the Crimea. We have unlocked billions in frozen assets to Iran, the worlds largest sponsor of state terrorism, while at the same time doing little to deter them from obtaining nuclear weapons. Iran still threatens us and has even taken our sailors prisoner, continuing to mock us at every turn. North Korea daily threatens us with nuclear annihilation while our response is to weaken our military capabilities to almost historic lows.

Suffice it to say that I and the President do not see eye to eye on the state of the union. I know that there are many, many more citizens of this great country that feel as I do. Unfortunately I do not have much optimism that things will change for the better any time soon. Actually, I am as pessimistic about the future of our country as I have ever been in my life. The Democrats offer us Hillary or Bernie. Hillary was a disaster as Secretary of State and her reckless disregard for law, procedure, and national security in the establishing of a private email server should have every voter cringing at the thought of her becoming president. Bernie is a Socialist who is anathema to everything our Founding Fathers stood for and promoted. His grandiose plans of free everything will cripple the already overburdened taxpayer with more taxes. It will also generate an even bigger government than the already far over-sized one we have currently. The Republicans are as big a disaster as the Democrats, almost. The only reason Donald Trump is doing as well as he is with voters is due to the great level of anger and frustration that the voters feel by their betrayal by establishment politicians. He would be a disaster as a president, on a scale with either Hillary or Bernie. Ted Cruz, being a Constitutional Conservative, closely reflects my political view. But I fear even he would be just more of the same. The two parties have merged into one party, where there is no middle, only the extremes on either side.

The damage done to our country may be irreversible. This great experiment of a Republic that the Founding Fathers made for us may have run its course. And as history has shown, the downfall of most nations comes from within. The only solace I take is my faith in God. He is in control and his Will will be done. That is sufficient for me. I just wish it hadn’t happened in my lifetime.



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Theology and Apologetics

Feb 18, 2016 by


I spend a lot of my day reading and studying Apologetics and Christian Theology. There are a lot of reasons why I find the studies of these two subjects interesting. Theology helps me to better understand the concepts of God and the nature of religious ideas. The Bishop of Hippo, Augustine, defined theology as “reasoning or discussion concerning the Deity.”  Theologians use various forms of analysis and argument (philosophical, ethnographic, historical, spiritual and others) to help understand, explain, test, critique, defend or promote any of myriad religious topics.

I study Apologetics because the Bible commands that all believers:

Be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 1 Peter 3:15-16

Christianity is attacked, mocked, ridiculed, and challenged by many people in our society. Many have legitimate questions, while others just have a hatred of all religions, but especially Christianity. In posts to come on this blog, I will expound on these topics and more. I just wanted for now to leave you with a list of book that I am currently reading on Theology and Apologetics. I urge anyone who has questions about Christianity that they want answered honestly to read any one of these books.

Have a Blessed Day

  • What’s So Great About Christianity by Dinesh D’Souza
  • Truth Overruled by Ryan T. Anderson
  • Holy Fire by R.T. Kendall
  • Darwin’s Doubt by Stephen C. Meyer
  • The Moody Handbook of Theology 25th Anniversary Edition by Paul Enns
  • Augustine on the Christian Life by Gerald Bray



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Downtown Suffolk

Feb 13, 2016 by

It was a bitterly cold day today. Despite the temperatures I took a ride out to Suffolk to do a quick photo walk. Suffolk is one of those towns whose heydays are behind it. There is a lot of decay, closed businesses, etc. The main business of Suffolk has always been peanuts and there are still two peanut operations. The main one is Planters, but Birdsong is another one that is almost as big. The downtown has been revitalized, with new stores, boutiques, and restaurants. The Convention Center on the river has been revitalized as well.

Here are a few photos I took today while out risking getting frostbitten. All of the photos that I took are on my Flickr page as well as my page. I hope you enjoy them.

God Bless.


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A New Direction

Feb 12, 2016 by

A great many things have changed in my life in the last few years, and especially in the last six months or so. In what I can only assume is the result of the Holy Spirit working within me, my focus in life has moved from earthly things to spiritual things. Most of the posts in this blog have been either of a political nature or a personal nature. My old interests and activities included playing computer games, electronics hobbyist, model rocketry, reading science fiction, guns, photography and a host of other worldly things.

Now I find that my interests and time are invested more in Bible study, Theology, church service, and volunteer work. I still have an avid interest in guns and photography, along with tech., but the other worldly interests have dried up.

In short, from now on most of the posts in The Mind of Tefft will be focused on my new interests. As the narrator for the Outer Limits says: “Please stand by.”

God Bless



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