Friday, February 29, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
Happy Leap Year! You won't see a February
29 for four more years. So enjoy this extra special bonus day that the calendar is bringing you today.
In the meantime,
Mother Nature is continuing with her mood swings today. We ought to be okay here, though. It was a "balmy" 34 degrees
at sun-up. That is a great predictor that we're going up to the high 40s, say Quint. My bet is on 52 degrees, so we shall
see. He always wins because when he gets to 48 degrees, he'll quit counting.
I heard from Mr. Oldenbird early
last night. I was in the office downstairs and I heard him serenading me. Dusk was too deep to see anything, though. I know
he was perched on his favorite branch, though. If I were to stay out there and let my eyes get adjusted to the cold night
darkness, I'd be able to see him. Listening to him is okay. Besides, it's warmer in here.
Today is the
day I make strawberry jam. I really prefer to use the frozen strawberries. They're flash frozen with nary a blemish. I
just hate it when I see a moldy strawberry in the little plastic cages after I bring them home. I stand there in the produce
department and turn those little cages every which way and select the one that I think is going to give me good fruit. Not
always. But when I get the frozen fruit, every piece is always perfect. They're frozen practically immediately after they're
And I promised Quint I'd make him a chocolate meringue pie (sugar free, of course). I put vanilla
extract in it and by the time I get through with the pudding part of the pie, it tastes like fudge.
We ran out of bread again. So that will be an all-day project. Not that it takes a lot of work on my part. How hard is it
to mix the yeast into 1/3 cup of hot water and let it "proof?" Or to mix up the flour and baking powder and salt.
Or to mix up a cup of hot water and whisk four eggs into it.
Actually the electric mixer does the work. I use
the dough hooks and get everything all mixed together and let the dough hooks do their little dancing thing in the big mixer
bowl. Cha cha cha.
Then it rises -- all by itself -- for at least two hours. That's the very least minimum.
If I have time, I let it rise three or four hours. While it's doing that I'm off doing something else. So it's
not like making bread is all that labor intensive.
When it blows up into this beautiful, white voluptuous balloon,
then I punch it down. Take that!
Out onto the floured rolling out spot on the kitchen counter. Some of the dough
will go into a loaf pan for sliced bread. Some of it will go into little 1 cup Pyrex baking dishes for buns, and depending
on what I have planned for the table, I might make monkey bread or dinner rolls.
Then that dough rises for another
two hours before it gets popped into a hot oven to bake for about 15 minutes or so.
So you see, it doesn't
take much doing on my part. But every time I pass through the kitchen on my way downstairs to the office, or back upstairs
to knit a few rows in whatever distraction I'm working on at the time, I peek at the dough. Got to see what they're
doing under their little blanket.
I finished knitting another table runner so I've turned my attention to
9-1/2" squares. At first they were for the kitchen. Then Quint decided he liked them for the bathroom. Doesn't matter.
I just like making them.
I have also been busy flipping through my copy of Emma.If I remember correctly,
that's the Masterpiece Classic of Jane Austen's that will be aired this Sunday evening. I can read any of them on
bibliomania.com for free.
And by rolling the little wheel on the mouse while holding the control key down on the
computer, I can make the type bigger if I want.
Don't you just love this age we live in?
dear friend Antoinette has received her memoirs from the publisher. She's entitled the book Second Mom. They're
selling like hotcakes. What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful lady! She deserves all her successes, believe me. I'm so
proud of her.
BIBLE STUDY: Romans 10:1-21
Before I begin today's
Bible Study, I would just like to say again that I hope each one of you is able to share a Bible Study in your home church
with your pastor or someone who has been trained as a Bible scholar. It is so helpful to study the Bible with someone who
can read the Hebrew and Greek texts. I cannot. I rely on my Concordia Study Bible with its excellent footnotes. It is written
solely in English.
But for those of you who are Christian and in parts of the world where you are not even near
a church, I pray that God will bless us as we make our progress through the Bible one chapter at a time. I thank you
for joining me.
Paul again brings the concept of justification to the surface in this chapter.
Justification is the major fault line of the Christian's faith. Sin made all man dirty. Sin aroused God's
wrath. But how can man get back into God's good graces? That's the question Paul addresses in this chapter.
Justification is God's solution to sin. Through Christ righteousness came into the world, bringing justification to
all who believe that he died for their sins.
Keep in mind that Paul was, first of all, a Jew. He had been trained
by the best teacher in his time -- Gamaliel. Paul was a pharisee. And you can believe that Paul was certainly familiar with
the writings of Moses and Isaiah as well as the other prophets from the Old Testament.
Remember that Paul did
not have the "New Testament" available. That would be mainly because the New Testament was a work in progress at
the time Paul was alive. Paul writings comprise the bulk of the New Testament. So, within that context, Paul did have his
own writings to refer back to -- if he kept copies.
Paul is still trying hard, in this chapter, to get the Jewish
people to realize that even though they are zealous for what they believe in, the information they are basing their beliefs
on is just plain old wrong.
How in the world was he ever going to convince all those Jewish scholars of that? It
was a challenge for us. Because Paul was a Jew himself, he understood all too well that they were holding steadfast the information
they had been given in their scholarly training. They weren't going to change their mind all that easily, and for sure,
not just because Paul said so.
So Paul prays for them. Paul seems to have come up against a brick wall, so to speak.
So what does he do? He does what we all should do when we are confronted by matters of faith -- either our own, or with other
people who just can't see the glory of righteousness -- he went to God in prayer for help.
heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelite is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are
zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge (verses 1 and 2).
Paul knew about the Israelites.
He knew they were sincere in holding onto their beliefs. He knew that their beliefs were traced all the way back to the Law
of Moses. This new idea of righteousness was not something they would embrace lightly. Paul knew this and he patiently implored
them in every way that he could think of.
He even used himself as an example when he said, "I can testify
about them that they are zealous" in verse 2. Paul knew only too well about zealousness. He himself had been there.
He was carrying execution warrants on his person at the time of his conversion. The warrants gave him the legal right
to kill any Christian he came across. But Paul's conversion came about at the hands of none other than Jesus Christ himself.
Paul now confronted Jews who were at least as zealous as he had been before his conversion, but Paul was not Jesus
Christ. He was not going to go around blinding all the Jews who differed with him.
But Paul did have the counsel
of the Holy Spirit who guided him through the mazes of thinking that the Jews held onto.
Paul is saying that they
are holding onto a belief that does not include God's righteousness. God's righteousness is a gift of grace. The Jews
are of the thought that they can earn righteousness by being good, by obeying the commandments, by making their sacrifices
at the altar -- just like they were told to do all the way back to Leviticus.
Paul makes a reference to Moses
in verse 5: Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: "The man who does these things will
live by them."
You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by
them: I am the Lord. Leviticus 18:5 ESV
But Paul continues in verse 6: But the righteousness that is by
faith says: "Do not say in your heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?" (that is, to bring Christ down) or "who
will descend into the deep?" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
This righteousness that
Paul is talking about is the gift of God's grace. They don't have to perform any super-human feats to earn God's
grace because it is a gift. It is not a payment for something they do. They don't have to figure out, somehow, how to
make Christ come down from heaven to give it to them because they are so good. They don't have to try to figure out how
they can get Christ to come up out of death again because they have been able to refrain from transgressions.
no no. God's righteousness is a gift of grace.
It's not the same kind of righteousness that Moses was talking
about when he told the children of Israel that living by the statutes would bring them life.
In verse 8, Paul again
quotes the Old Testament writers when he pulls Deuteronomy 30:14 to them: But the word is very near you. It is in your
mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. These are the very words that Paul quotes in Romans 9:8: But
what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,"
that is, the word of
faith we are proclaiming: (in verse 9) That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe
in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Paul wants the Jews to believe that Christ
is that word. To receive God's righteousness, all that is required is to believe that Christ is the Messiah that the prophets
had talked about.
Christ came to die for our sins. Christ rose from the dead and with that great miracle, he seal
forgiveness for all who believe. All we have to do is confess that we believe.
Then we are saved.
have Christ in us.
We have God's righteousness.
Paul seals this message most clearly in verse 12-13:
For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile -- the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on
him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
Then Paul, in his perfect
rhetorical form, poses the Jewish problem to them in verses 14-15: How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed
in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
But wait! Paul is standing there, right in front of them. It's like "what do you mean no one ever told
you?" Listen to me! I'm telling you.
I bring you the message. I'm telling you what to believe! You
can't say you've never heard what you should believe in. And I can preach to you because I am an apostle who is called
by Jesus Christ himself.
Then he reaches back to the words of Isaiah 52:7a for this message: How beautiful
upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news,
and the rest of this verse from Isaiah is: who
publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns."
(my emphasis added)
But even back in Isaiah's time, did the Jews back then believe? Paul says no (verse
Then comes this pearl of theological wisdom from Paul in verse 17: Consequently, faith comes from hearing
the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. Paul, in this verse, is publishing salvation!
Paul quotes Isaiah 65:1 -- I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by
those who did not seek me. I said, "Here am I, here am I," to a nation that was not called by my name.
And there you have it. If the Gentiles heard the word and called on God by name, and they supposedly were intellectually
inferior by the Jews' standards, how come they got it, and the Jews didn't?
The answer concern the Israelites
is quoted from Isaiah 65:2 -- I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not
good, following their own devices.
And their own "devices" are an insistence that their view of
righteousness -- that is, their good works -- will keep them in rebellion and walking down a path that is not good.
Think about ideas and opinions you have held onto that were really difficult to
I see people struggling with cognitive distortions all the time in my counseling practice. And then, there's
a peace that literally writes itself on their face when a distortion gets set aside.
It's not that I'm
any kind of an evangelist, but I can just imagine what Paul was hoping to see when he was talking to the Jewish people --
when those "aha moments" happen to a person, there is such a peaceful countenance.
Can you imagine what
is happening within a person's heart to bring that kind of peace to the surface?
We have one more chapter in
Paul's Letter to the Romans that focuses on this theme with the Jewish people. I'm going to bring that to you tomorrow,
even though it will be a Saturday and I don't usually write a daily entry on weekends.
Dear Heavenly Father -- I thank you that I live in a country where I can give full expression to my faith. I pray that you
will guard and keep all those in other places in the world where it is dangerous to talk about Christ out in the open. Keep
them in the palm of your hand and put a hedge around their faith, Oh Lord. Amen.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
I've been so busy in the aftermath
of my sister's death that I almost missed the headlines announcing the passing of one of my favorite writers: William
Buckley died at the age of 82 years. He follows his beloved wife, Patricia, who died last year at
the age of 80, I think.
Buckley founded National Review in 1955, so that must have been where we met.
After the first column I read, I was hooked for life. And years later, when I watched him on Firing Line, I was even
more amazed. Mostly because there seemed to be sound coming from his direction. He must have been the one talking because
the cameras were turned on him. But his mouth didn't seem to be moving. It was like, "Who said that?"
When he was pleased, he could smile out loud all right, and the words just seemed to escape out of his mouth, rather than
being propelled. Doesn't matter because there were more than four million words that managed to escape his brain, trickle
all the way down to his fingers, and run out on the keyboard of his faithful old typewriter.
I'm not sure
about this, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that he was still using an old manual typewriter at his death. And he
was found in his study, probably working on another column at his last moment of life. I, for one, would have preferred
to have many, many more years squeezed out of that brain of his which has been described as erudite.
can you define erudite without looking it up first? I couldn't. Even in his obituaries, I'm still reaching for the
dictionary just like I did when I read is columns when I was just a kid. (Erudite means "scholarly" or "learned.")
Someone who knows a lot of stuff is erudite.
I grew up in a very poor family. My mother was a single mom who raised
us in what was then described as a "broken home."
I can tell you that we did not have money for the
likes of National Review, but I was working in the public library in Paducah at the time -- in the childrens department
in the basement. When the childrens department closed at 6 pm, I'd haul my chubby little self upstairs to the adult department
where I had my favorite spot in the corner of a huge table in the corner of the reference department where I worked on my
homework. If I got done before the adult department closed at 9 pm, I'd go looking for interesting things to read. That's
when I met Mr. Buckley.
I saved up and bought my first dictionary because of him. In those days, I couldn't
get through a single column without looking up a half dozen words. In 1955, I was twelve years old. I fell in love with the
way he put words together. He wasn't anything like the so-called loud conservative columnists these days who are little
more than egotistical blabbermouths who speak loud and say little. Except for George Will. He's always a good read too.
He is known for being a fan of Johann Sebastian Bach. He is known for his abilities as a pianist. And I've read
that he also played the harpsichord.
Buckley had a great influence on me as I was growing up in a family without
heroes. One of my brothers had already hit the slippery slope of legal ne'er-do-wellism.
I think, in
looking back, that the library afforded me a quiet sanctuary where I could grow thoughts. I admired the succinct, critical
thinking from this erudite writer without even knowing exactly what it was that drew me to his writing. But I figured
I'd be okay if I got to be a tenth as good, no -- make that a hundredth -- as Buckley was.
go dig up copies of his novels about a CIA character/agent at our library. Who else would name a CIA agent Blackford Oakes.
That sounds so "Jane Austenish," doesn't it? I mean, it's right up there with Fiztwilliam Darby
from Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Probably some little vignettes in there from the time he was a deep, undercover
CIA agent. For real. That was before he became a writer.
BIBLE STUDY: Romans 9:19-33
When I was sitting in church last night -- midweek Lenten service, you know -- the thought came to me about
how to differentiate sin and transgression.
Sin is how we are; transgression is what we do.
In the beginning,
God made Adam and Eve pure and without the blemish of sin. It wasn't until Satan tricked them into eating the apple that
they became sullied, fouled by the ugliness of sin that they didn't have a prayer as to how to overcome. And no matter
how many baths or showers they took, they could never wash sin off of themselves. Sin came into their lives and permeated
their beings. Jesus Christ came into the world, died for our sins and rose from the dead. This was God's great sacrifice
and it washed each one of us clean from sin. Now we are forgiven people, washed clean from the sin that once sullied us.
Transgression, on the other hand, is what we do each and every time we break any of God's commandments. Transgressions
are what we do.
As we continue our study of this 9th Chapter of Paul's Letter to the Romans,
we see him still trying to get the Jews to accept that the Gentile Christians are also the children of God because of their
faith in Christ.
Paul makes references back to Old Testament texts in response to the question in verse 19: They
why does God still blame us? For who resists his will? NIV
I have a cross reference to Job 10:9 -- Remember
that you have made me like clay; and will you return me to the dust? ESV
Another reference to Isaiah 64:8
-- But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. ESV
And still another in Daniel 4:35 -- all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according
to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, "What
have you done?" ESV
In Job 9:12, the comment is made that he snatches away and who can say to God, "what
are you doing?" ESV
Now comes Paul who tells the Jews in Rome that they had better be careful if they start
excluding the very people that God has created. Oh sure, the Israelites were the chosen people, but they weren't the only
people who received the blessing of God's forgiveness of sins.
Paul says in verses 22-24: What if God,
choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath -- prepared for destruction?
What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in
advance for glory --
even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
Paul quotes Hosea to the Jews who were present, in verse 25: I will call them "my people" who are
not my people; and I will call her "my loved one" who is not my loved one.
This is a quote from
Hosea 1:10: Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered.
And in the place where it was said to them, "You are not my people," it shall be said to them, "Children of
the living God." ESV
Paul continues in verse 26: It will happen that in the very place where it was
said to them, "You are not my people," they will be called "sons of the living God."
a verse from Isaiah 10, Paul quotes: For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will
return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness (verse 22). ESV
This is a reminder that God
is the Almighty one who decides everything about restoration and forgiveness and salvation. It isn't for the Jews to make
a claim that the Gentiles are not worthy to receive God's forgiveness and the gift of salvation.
And just as
the Almighty God had punished the errant children of Israel, and later restored them, he can bring about a spiritual restoration
to all sinners, for the Lord God has made us all.
Coming full circle into the logic of his mental pursuit with
the Jewish people in Rome, Paul then asks the Jews, What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness,
have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why
not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works (verses 30-32a). NIV
is still trying to get the Jews to understand that righteousness comes by faith, not by earning it from good works.
In fact, this whole notion that they could earn righteousness by good works was a "stumbling stone" mentioned
in verse 32b.
This reference to the stumbling stone goes all the way back to Isaiah, who quoted God in 28:16 --
therefore thus says the Lord God, "Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: 'Whoever believes will not be in haste.'" ESV
notion that the Jews held that they could earn their way into righteousness by way of good works was the stumbling stone.
Righteousness is a gracious gift from God is the the precious cornerstone -- it is the sure foundation of -- the cornerstorne
of faith that is everything we believe is true.
Think about what stumbling
stones, if any, you may have as a hindrance to your faith.
Do you accept the idea that you receive grace even
though we are all unworthy of such a gift from God?
We pray: Oh Spirit of the Living God, I thank
you for your Word which gives me strength each day. I pray for all those people around the world who hunger for you and search
for you and yet are unable to enjoy the precious resources that worship can bring to them if they could only gather with other
believers in an assembly of faith.
I pray that you would continue to watch over the missionaries who often put
their lives on the line to bring faith practices to believers. I pray that you would keep them all safe as they grow your
kingdom here on earth. Amen.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
Who in the world would intentionally bring
a baby Burmese python into the house as a pet?!!
Listen up, folks. Pythons do not make good pets. In fact, if you
have any warm-blooded pets (like a cat or a dog), the python will eat them.
They are cold-blooded. They are wild.
They cannot be trained. They don't have a central nervous system that is big enough to have room for affection.
And when those beady little eyes in their bone head are looking at you, they are measuring you up to figure out if
they can fit your body into their mouth.
Now we apparently have an infestation of these ugly reptiles going on
in Florida. They've even moved into Arkansas and are headed north. Fortunately, they don't winter over, so I think
we're safe here in Illinois.
Besides, we already have leftover pythons from people who bought "Ball Pythons."
Now that the ball pythons are getting big, people don't know what to do with them. People need to understand that a four
footer can kill you.
I shudder when I see the foolishness of a python draped around someone's shoulder. These
are very naive people who have no idea how quick a snake can move into squoosh position. And you just try to turn back that
primeval force if the python starts to wrap itself around your neck.
Snakes are not smart. They are not cunning.
They operate on one premise and one premise only: me hungry, me eat.
But enough about snakes. Now, how about politics?
Are we finally done with all the debates? I shouldn't complain, though. We quit watching the debates when the politicians
started going onto the talk shows and comedy shows. They actually believe they're entertaining us.
I, for one, do not believe that they will fulfill one single campaign promise. In the first place, they do not have the constitutional
authority to deliver practically anything they're promising.
And if they think congress is going to cooperate
with them, they're in for a really big surprise. Congress is about as self-serving as the candidates are. Mainly because
all of the presidential candidates, except for one, are congressionals themselves.
They couldn't even get a
budget passed before the deadline. Among other things. So how do they expect me to believe they can get anything done if they
perchance got elected?
And besides, they're supposed to be in Washington when the senate is in session. Who
told them they could take days off to campaign for president -- like, for a whole year?
How's that for ethics?
If that were your employee, wouldn't you make the employee take a leave without pay?
But wait, they are our
employees. These are senators that make more than $150,000 a year from taxpayers they are supposed to be representing.
Oh well. I guess I'm just too simple minded to get my little pinhead around such a big idea.
BIBLE STUDY: Romans 9:1-18
Paul has finished his theme of how we can be reconciled with
God at the end of Chapter 8. He has told the Romans about righteousness and explained the difference between sin and transgression.
And finally, Paul tells us -- and the Romans back then -- that this righteousness as it is lived out by faith in God -- is
shared with us by the Holy Spirit.
It is manifested in the gift of Jesus Christ and because we do nothing to earn
this salvation that we all share in Christ's death and resurrection, it is a gift of grace. Through this very act of love
from our gracious Heavenly Father, we are no longer slaves to sin. Sin has no power over us anymore.
And all the
while, the Holy Spirit is working in the background, bringing us to faith. Paul has much to say about the Holy Spirit in this
letter to the Romans.
Read the verses carefully, for the presence of the Holy Spirit is richly peppered throughout
Paul's writing in this letter to the Romans.
The Holy Spirit is God's Spirit. The Holy Spirit was the
power who raised Jesus Christ from the grave (Romans 8:11). It is this Holy Spirit who lives in the hearts of all who believe
in Christ. It is this same power of the Holy Spirit that brings us to a close, reconciled relationship with God the Father
-- so much so that we can say "Abba, Father" (verse 8:15).
This is an interesting reference for "Abba"
itself is an address for "Father." Except, that is, for the level of intimacy that Abba suggests. "Abba"
has a warm tone to it. It's the difference in calling someone "Daddy" versus "Father."
small child uses the term "Abba" for daddy and "Imma" for mummy. The Holy Spirit brings us a "sonship"
with God and by him [the Holy Spirit] we have testimony that we are, in fact, God's children (verse 8:16).
now Paul is ready to open a new theme in this Letter to the Romans. That theme has to do with the Israelite question and how
the Jewish people can relate to the Gentile Christians who were also living in Rome. The development of this train of thought
will continue through chapter 11.
This Jewish/Gentile question continues out of Paul's ministry to the Corinthians
even. Paul wants the Jewish people in Rome to understand that it is God who decides matters of individual salvation. The Gentiles
are not to be treated as outcasts, just people out there looking in on the Jews while wishing that they could have a part
of this glorious ancestry that the Jews had. Oh no -- Paul wanted to make it crystal clear that God is Lord of all. Everybody.
Even after the Jews were dispersed throughout the world, and there was only a remnant left, it
was this very remnant that brought the ancestry to Christ in a bloodline that went directly back to Abraham.
Well, if that was the family tree, so to speak, Paul wanted the Jews in Rome to realize that God, through the Holy
Spirit, had taken the Gentile Christians and grafted them onto that tree of salvation too.
Paul reminds the Jews
that, ultimately, they rejected Christ.
So Paul says, in verses 1-5: I speak the truth in Christ -- I am not
lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit -- I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could
wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel.
Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the
promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is trace the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised!
Paul was, in fact, a Jew. He was also Greek. Who better to unify these two groups together in a common
Paul spends some time in this chapter following the roots of the Jewish ancestry to Christ. He talks about
the children of Rebekah -- Jacob and Esau. In verse 13, he writes: Just as it is written: Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.
Paul was drawing a reference here to the nation Israel (Jacob) over the nation Edom (Esau). The parallel is that
Jacob was the chosen bunch of Israelites while the Edomites were the rejected ones.
Well, then, does that
mean God is unjust (verse 14)?
Of course not. A previous choice had been dealt with too -- that of Isaac and Ishmael.
Now comes Paul's reference to Jacob and Esau.
And so, in verse 15b, we read: I will have mercy on whom
I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.
So it does not depend on whether a person
obeys the law down to the very last letter. That does not cure you from your sinful nature. And God, for whatever reason he
chooses, gifts mercy as it pleases him.
Even Pharaoh had received gifts of power from God, for we read in verse
17: For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and
that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.
So God is saying that he made Pharaoh a mighty king. And
God had a plan. The Israelites who were slaves probably wouldn't have been nearly as impressed with what God was about
to do to deliver them from Egypt if 1) the Pharaoh was a little weakling of a despot, or 2) if Pharaoh had not backed out
of his commitment to let the Israelites go free.
No no. God made Pharaoh into a mighty powerhouse. And when God
defeated Pharaoh, the Children of Israel would then be more apt to recognize God as truly, out of this world powerful!
You bet they packed up and got ready to leave with Moses. Moses was travelling with God and they wanted to be a part
of that. They didn't have the slightest idea of the wonders they were about to be a part of, but their faith was great.
And they moved out!
Think for a moment, if you will, if you were
in Paul's shoes, how in the world would you try to get the Jews and the Gentiles together as one cohesive group of Christians?
This has always amazed me and the more I study Paul, the more awesome he appears.
You've heard the
saying, "God does not call the equipped. God equips the called."
How did God equip Paul to take on the
task of ministering to these people in faraway places? Keep in mind that Paul had not yet met the Romans.
do you think of the tone of Paul's Letter to the Romans? Would you take as strong a tone with people you'd never met?
We pray: Oh Spirit of the Living God, I pray that you would help me cultivate a faith that is strong,
I pray that you would use me and the talents you have given me to further your kingdom in any
way that would serve you best.
And at this time, I also pray that you would bless the travels of my sister's
daughters back to their homes in distant places. Amen.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
Remember when the weather service wanted
big buckets of money so that they could make more better predictions?
Well, what happened?!! Weather predictors
still cannot make any "for certain" prognostications for, say, where a tornado is going to strike. They can't
explain why one house is reduced to splinters while the house across the street doesn't even have a shingle out of place.
They are getting better at alerting people that a storm is coming when it's traveling at 60 mph in a northeasterly path.
It would seem to me that a 6th grade Earth Science student could do that, given a little radar kit to use.
It never did get up to the high 40s yesterday, but it's not a big deal for us. We just snuggled
in and kept the doors shut tight. But I do feel a great deal of sympathy for the folks up north. They're really having
a time of it and now it looks like they're going to run out of salt to treat the streets. Chicago, not known for neighborly
generosity of any kind, now says it probably won't have enough salt to get it through the winter season so the neighboring
suburbs are on their own. The salt that they once sold for $25 a ton is now going for $60 to $80 -- that is, if they'll
sell it at all.
See, they believed all that global warming malarkey. The city bureaus -- and it's not just
Chicago that's running low on salt -- bought into Al Gore's global warming theories? He, who invented to Internet,
couldn't possibly be wrong! Could he?
Well, in the first place, Al Gore has invented nothing. The Internet
was developed for military purposes. As far as global warming is concerned, it would be better if it were viewed as climate
cycling.He'd have known that if he'd ever read any history books. But if he'd done that, he probably would
have claimed to have invented the ice age that was responsible for dinosauracide a few years ago.
my theory: solar activity is diminishing right now as we speak. We are going to go into a cool-down cycle. Nothing deadly,
just the other end of the warming cycle that occurred when there was more solar activity.
It will happen just about
in time for Al Gore to try to take credit for the cooling because of the successful effectiveness of his yelling and screaming
about man-made causes of big weather warming cycles.
He who apparently thinks he's bigger than God himself
must be having hissy fits in his palatial mansion down there in Tennessee. No doubt he's marching up and down the hallways
of the manse muttering things like, "This can't be happening. Not yet. I haven't had time to write another mocudrama
It's time for each one of us to come back to the humbling thought that God is the person who created
everything. And what was God's recipe? A simple handful of dirt. Actually he had to first make the dirt -- so he really
started out with absolutely nothing. Zero!
That's my story and I'm sticking with it.
BIBLE STUDY: Romans 8:18-39
Paul makes a curious comment in verse 18: I consider that
our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. NIV
My study Bible
has a cross reference to 2 Corinthians 4:17 -- For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us and eternal weight
of glory beyond all comparison. NIV
And also 1 Peter 1:6 -- In this you rejoice, though now for a little
while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials. NIV
And in 1 Peter 5:10 -- And after you
have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore,
confirm, strengthen and establish you. NIV
Keep in mind, though, that Bible scholars place the writing of
1 Peter in the early 60s while Paul's Letter to the Romans has been placed as 57 A.D. I mention this because the cross
references to these quotes from Peter's book could suggest that there was persecution and afflictions that had started
to either threaten the disciples and early Christians, or had, in fact, begun.
Paul is not quoting Peter, but
Peter could have been referring to the same kinds of afflictions as Paul had spoken of three years before Peter's book
was written. And they both had said that whatever suffering they had to endure was nothing compared to what Christ had suffered.
Recall that when given a choice at his execution, Peter did not even want to be crucified "right side up"
as Christ had been. Rather, Peter chose to be crucified upside down.
There is a great promise in verse 19 of this
chapter: The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.NIV
-- all of creation -- everything on earth -- waits for the sons of God to be revealed. But wait -- aren't all Christians
"sons of God?"
I think there's an underlying message here and that message has to do with the fact
that only God knows what is in the heart of man. Like the thief on the cross next to Jesus who would most likely have been
written off as a ne'er do well, we do not know all of the people who could be revealed as the sons of God.
instance, there are people who are very proud of their piety. So much that they have made their piousness an idol. That's
how wonderful they think their piety is. They may only act righteous. But remember, righteousness is a step closer toward
grace. God is the granter of grace. It is not for the pious and righteous to try to grab the rewards out of God's hands.
And how about the converse of that? There are people -- we all know a few -- who don't look like they even care
about who God is, much less live a life that God would be pleased with. And yet, they, like the thief on the cross might be
more humble than their pious counterparts. They might talk to God at length from the hushed darkness of their bed just before
they drift off to sleep at night.
You and I do not know who all the sons of God are because they haven't all
been revealed yet. No doubt, there will be many surprised for us. People we'd least expect to be welcomed into God's
kingdom may just go marching right past us. So we need to be careful if we think we've got that all figured out.
In verse 22, Paul continues with his reminder that as Christ's followers, we have been given the firstfruits of the
Spirit. This gift of these firstfruits are merely the beginning of our new relationship with God. It's a portent of what
is to come -- and that is the resurrection from the dead. Those days are yet to come when Christ comes back for us -- he will
raise us up from our earthly graves to join him in heaven.
So the gifts of the Spirit are the beginning of our
journey toward being with Christ in heaven for all eternity.
I must say that re-reading this chapter has given
me much comfort in light of the recent death of my beloved Sister Dear. I know that her suffering through the cancer that
racked her body and compromised her physicalness are now over for she has gone to a more glorious place. It is only
her physical body that is in the grave -- not her soul. Her beautiful soul has gone to be with our Lord Jesus Christ.
And I have a hope that one day I will see her again in heaven as we worship and praise our Lord.
Paul says in verses 24-25: For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what
he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
And just exactly how
do we keep this hope alive in our hearts?
Well, the Holy Spirit has made available to us several opportunities
to get to know our faith better -- to grow our faith into the strongest part of our being -- and the Holy Spirit does this
through prayer. And sometimes we don't even know what to pray for. That's when the Holy Spirit intercedes for us.
Listen to what verses 26-27 says: In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to
pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows
the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.
this is the first time you are reading these verses, write them down and carry them around in your pocket until they have
been engraved onto the inside of your head.
Think about it -- the Holy Spirit and our Heavenly Father are so close
that they don't even need to talk to one another and the Father still knows every single thought that the Holy Spirit
Of course, our Heavenly Father knows what our thoughts are too, but there are those other times when we
can't figure out exactly what it is that we want to ask him about. Those are the times when the Holy Spirit steps in,
so to speak, and puts our thoughts out there before God himself.
Don't ever think that you're all alone
in your suffering. You have the Holy Spirit with you even when you can't think of what you should be thinking about. He
knows and he shares all things with God our Heavenly Father.
So if someone has stolen your peace of mind, for instance,
and you don't want to pray about something you consider trivial, don't worry about it. The Holy Spirit will take your
unspoken, uncongealed prayer concern right to God himself.
If you are unable to pray for someone you think has
wronged you horribly, the Holy Spirit knows about that anguish you are suffering. He will take your pain to God for you.
If you are unable to forgive someone who, in your humanness think doesn't deserve your forgiveness, the Holy Spirit
will help you out with that one too. At some point, though, you're going to have to decide that it's time
to forgive and that's when the Holy Spirit comes running across the field toward you, ready to lift your prayer of forgiveness to
heaven when the time comes that you've readied your heart to do that. The Holy Spirit will help you with getting ready.
It's certainly not an easy thing to do and there are many times when we just can't do it by ourselves. The Spirit
of God is only too willing to help you -- just ask.
But what you don't want to do is let an unforgiving heart
get between you and God. That is not the path to righteousness, dear ones.
Before I get into verses 28-30, I have
to share with you some cross references.
The first is Ezra 8:22 -- For I was ashamed to ask the king for a
band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, "The hand of our
God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him. ESV
2 Chronicles 15:22 -- ...the Lord is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if
you forsake him, he will forsake you. ESV
So now we come to this powerful message in verses 28-30: And
we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the
firstborn among many brothers.
And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified;
those he justified, he also glorified. NIV
I caution you not to go off on a side tangent at this point. These
passages are not paving the way to a philosophy of reincarnation and predestination at all. Rather, look closely to the messages
throughout all these passages that what God wants most of all is to welcome us back to him.
For sure, he has called
us. He has things that he wants each one of us to do. He has bestowed on us gifts of the Holy Spirit. Whether we ever use
them or not in the course of our lifetime, the gifts are there. And he has given us free will to make choices throughout our
Sometimes we make choices that we ought not to. In those instances, I get a visual of God sitting on his
judgment throne, looking down at us silly people here on earth, saying "I wish you hadn't done that."
But his purpose for us has always been, first and foremost, to bring us back to him.
That's why he sent
his son to die for our sins. That's why he gave us the laws by way of the Ten Commandments. These commandments allow us
to see what we've done wrong.
Think about it -- if we have never had the Ten Commandments, we would be just
sinners. We would never know for sure how to get right with God.
Do you think for one minute that you could ever
tell the difference between sin and transgression? At least with the Ten Commandments you can figure out what your transgressions
are. Sins are something we need help from the Holy Spirit, God, and Jesus Christ to help us sort out.
verses, God is saying he wants us. He picked us out. He selected us. We belong to God. Through his grace, and his grace alone,
we are able to get back to God in all the full glory of what it means to be justified.
And it's more than sending
his son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. Oh no. More than that. Christ rose from the dead. Christ is alive again and sitting
at the right hand of his God, our Heavenly Father in heaven.
And who could possibly bring a charge against us
-- the evil whisperer -- the father of lies? Read in verses 33-34 what Paul says about this: Who will bring any charge
against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died -- more than that,
who was raised to life -- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. NIV
So we also
have Jesus Christ interceding for us, in addition to the Holy Spirit.
I'll tell you, folks, with both these
powerful entities of the Triune God interceding for us, begging our case before God Himself, who in the world could possibly
intentionally do anything but the right thing?
Why would anyone want to break any of the commandments?
It isn't like we're little kids again and we get away with things because our parents can't be everywhere and
they can't see everything, so sometimes, something gets missed.
But not so with God. Here is the person who
sees around corners, through concrete walls, and into our hearts. Don't mess with him. He knows!
a good thing that he did get us all cleaned up from the ugliness of sin that we were wrapped up in.
a good thing that he loves us that much.
It's just a good thing that nothing can separate us from the love
If you are unable to forgive anyone for anything, repeat this
prayer a dozen times a day: "Please help me forgive. Please come into my heart and cleanse me from everything that gets
in between me and your love." When you do that, believe me, the Holy Spirit will hear you and will come to you.
I mention forgiveness because it seems to be the one thing that keeps people hanging by a thread -- it's one of Satan's
most effective devices to keep us from enjoying a really close relationship with God our Heavenly Father.
yet, we know from so many Bible readings that God has told us, again and again, that he will forgive us just as we forgive
others. So forgiveness is a big item in God's messages to us.
We pray: Oh Heavenly Father,
I thank you for the many gifts you have given me.
I thank you for calling me to be yours. I thank you for sending
your son to die for my sins. I thank you for giving me the strength to make better choices as I go along through life -- better
choices than I used to make. Thank you for helping me grow and develop in your love and strength. Amen.
Monday, February 25, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
And here we are, coming to you from Owlspotting
Paradise. Mr. William Albert Oldenbird, the great feathered DC-10 that Quint named after his maternal grandfather, has moved
to a limb near my kitchen window. He perched himself on a branch where he could look down from his spy place limb and
watch what's going on in the Food Lab.
Or maybe he thinks he's going to get one of the deer that has marked
a path between the house and the carport. Anyway, Mr. Oldenbird watched for a while, then got bored with me I guess, and poof
-- he spread out his huge magnificent wings and flew away -- all the way to the back of the yard where he sits in the pine
Things are back to normal around here. The garbage peeps were here bright and early. We got e-mails from
the Virginia branch of the Stubbe tree last night. They made it back home too. And they had to drive across all that treacherous
stuff through Indiana and Ohio. (I do not like pink snow.)
And the Chicago branch of the Stubbes are doing fine
too. Mark -- you hang in there and continue with your physical therapy. It's doing wonders for you and you'll be up
running around in no time. Bet you never thought you'd look forward to Corinne's list of things for you to do, did
And oh the delicious yummy ending of Pride and Prejudice last night! Jane Austen's ladies always
get their men. Austen really weaves a good story around the gentried life in jolly old England.
Today I'm going
to Bibliomania and re-read all of Pride and Prejudice. Emma will be next Sunday's segment of Masterpiece
Classic. I like that story too, although the intrigues surrounding the love life of Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam
Darby are wonderful. It's enough to stir the romantic part of my nature and take me to another galaxy far far away. And
commercial free at that.
This afternoon will be filled with writing thank you notes to so many people who have
been supportive and sent condolences. As for Cookie, she's probably up there watching a ball game or something with her
husband John, who predeceased her by a bit more than a year. Then they'll probably go over to mom's for dinner and
sit around on the porch swing sipping iced tea. And since they're in heaven, they don't have to worry about whether
the weather is going to be nice. It always is up there.
We're going to get up to the high 40s late this afternoon,
Quint says. Time to get the lawn mower out and run it through the car wash and give it a wax job. Well, maybe not. But I can
think about it. I am going to go outside and count the tulips that are peeping through the dirt.
AGE COMES WISDOM -- from Alice Stubbe
A guy is 80 years old and loves to fish and play golf.
He was sitting in his boat the other day when he heard a voice say, "Pick me up."
He looked around
and couldn't see anyone. He thought he was dreaming when he heard the voice say again, "Pick me up." He looked
in the water and there, floating on the top, was a frog.
The man asked, "Are you talking to me?"
The frog said, "Yes, I'm talking to you. Pick me up. Then kiss me and I'll turn into the most beautiful woman
you have ever seen. I'll make sure that all your friends are envious and jealous because I will be your bride!"
The man looked at the frog for a short time, reached over, picked up the frog and put it in his front breast pocket.
Then the frog said, "What, are you nuts? Didn't you hear what I said? I said kiss me and I will be your beautiful
The man opened his pocket, looked at the frog and said, "Nah, at my age, I'd rather have
a talking frog."
HUMOR FOR LEXOPHILES (LOVERS OF WORDS) -- from Rickey
I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.
Police were called to
a day care center where a three year old was resisting a rest.
Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side
was cut off? He's all right now.
The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.
The butcher backed up into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.
To write with a broken
pencil is pointless.
When fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate.
The short fortune
teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.
A thief fell and broken his leg in wet cement. He became a hardened criminal.
When the smog lifts in Los
The dead batteries were given out free of charge.
A dentist and a manicurist fought
tooth and nail.
A bicycle can's stand alone -- it is two tired.
A will is a dead giveaway.
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
A backward poet write inverse.
In a democracy,
it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, it's your count that votes.
A chicken crossing the road: poultry
Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft adn I'll show you A-flat minor.
If you don't
pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.
The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.
A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France, resulting in Linoleum Blownapart.
You are stuck with your
debt if you can't budge it.
A boiled egg is hard to beat.
He had a photographic memory which was
When you've seen one shopping center, you've seen a mall.
When she saw her
first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.
Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.
Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.
Accupuncture: a jab well done.
GOD IS LIKE -- from Antoinette Oberheu
God is like BAYER ASPIRIN -- he works miracles.
God is like a FORD -- he's got a better idea.
God is like COKE -- he's the real thing.
God is like HALLMARK CARDS -- he cares enough to send the very best.
God is like TIDE -- he gets the stains out
that others leave behind.
God is like GENERAL ELECTRIC -- he brings good things to life.
God is like
SEARS -- he has everything.
God is like ALKA-SELTZER -- try him, you'll like him.
God is like SCOTCH
TAPE -- you can't see him, but you know he's there.
God is like DELTA -- he's ready when you are.
God is like ALLSTATES -- you're in good hands with him.
God is like VO-5 HAIR SPRAY -- he holds you
through all kinds of weather.
God is like DIAL SOAP -- aren't you glad you have him? Don't you wish everybody
God is like the US POST OFFICE -- Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet nor ice will keep him from his appointed
PEACE IN YOUR SOUL -- from Mark Stubbe
there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities
that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May
you be content knowing that you are a child of God. Let his presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom
to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.
Romans 8:1-17 (continuing with Chapter 8 tomorrow)
From the first verse of this chapter, Paul reiterates
the powerful message that there is no condemnation for people who are in Christ, for they walk after the Spirit,
not after the flesh. (KJV)
Remember that the very word "condemnation" brings us to a realization that
because of the law, we recognize where we have gone wrong -- where we have walked about satisfying the languishing hollering
of our sinful nature.
Paul uses the word law in verse 2 when he says, For the law of the Spirit
of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (KJV)
There are several different
ways that the word "law" can be used and Paul uses more than one definition as we go through this Letter to the
Romans. In this particular instance, the "law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" means the rule that sets us
an expectation. It's like the law of physics that says when you throw a ball up in the air, the rule is that
it will come down again.
It is so when we say the law of the Spirit of life in Christ also controls us
in our daily lives. There is an expectation that is set up by this law of the Spirit that says when we walk with Christ Jesus,
we will come under the control of the Spirit -- that is, we will not die an eternal death, for the Spirit is life giving.
The law, that is the Old Testament Law that was handed down to Moses by God, could certainly not free us from sin.
All the law can do is help us recognize our transgressions. The law is powerless to free us from the hold of sin and death.
The law is important to us though. It provides a set of rules that help us develop a sense of morality. When we can
recognize our transgression and keep our life on track so that we are not giving in to all the temptations that pop up in
front of us all the time, then we can live according to the Spirit. But life saver? No.
Verses 6-8 tell us: For
to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Because the carnal mind
is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
So then they that
are in the flesh cannot please God.
The NIV says that the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not
submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. (verses 7-8)
But wait -- there's hope.
This hope is wrapped around the Spirit of God (verse 9). If you don't have
the Spirit of God in your life, then none of this applies to you. But if you do, and it's a very big "if"
-- then you have the Spirit of Christ and even though your body is going to die, your soul will not because your spirit is
alive because the Spirit of God has brought you to righteousness.
I realize that this all may sound like the
"chicken or the egg" type of question that philosophers like to pose to us. But make no mistake about it -- this
is not an intellectual intrigue.
It goes like this:
Man brought sin into the world (neither Adam nor
Eve resisted Satan in Eden).
God brought the law into the world (to Moses, written in stone)
The law opens our eyes
to where we have gone wrong, where we transgress.
Knowing that we transgress brings us to guilty feelings.
Spirit of God brings us to righteousness if we commit our life to God after our guilt leads us to trying to live
a right kind of life.
Even though we become righteous through the Holy Spirit, we are still sinners.
God sent his
son, Jesus Christ, to free us from the death caused by sin. Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead.
in verse 10, we read: And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Or, as the NIV puts it: But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit
is alive because of righteousness.
It is this same Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead. If this Spirit
is living inside us then we will be raised from our earthly death just as Christ was (verse 11).
We no longer
have to fear death because our mortality is a mere backdrop on the stage of life against which we see the transition
of our travels to heaven's other shores. It is when we make that crossing that we are able to join ourselves with God
again. And because of Christ, our soul will be blemish-free once again.
Having said of that, then we ought to look
at the obligations that this brings to us. These are powerful duties that we now have to live a life that is pleasing to God. If
we let the Holy Spirit take up residence within us, then we are better able to resist the shenanigans that sin tries to pull
This is how we get to be children of God (verse 14).
And because we are God's children,
we are guaranteed an inheritance because we are joint heirs with Christ because we suffer death with him, and we also then
share the glory of his resurrection.
One of my most challenging thoughts
in Bible Study is to realize that I can become righteous if I try to live a life as close to sin-free as I can, but righteousness
is not being free of sin.
It reminds me of a youngster who was brought to me by his mother after he had
taken her ATM card and helped himself to $200 from her checking account. She didn't know exactly what would be an appropriate
discipline since he'd be an old man before he got through his punishment of grounding.
Taking a note from
my mother who had written in my personal history book, I asked him which commandment he had broken.
This lad had
no idea what the commandments were.
"Well then, dust off your little heart," I said. "You are about
to find out."
Fortunately he knew that there was a Bible and he also knew that the Bible was a holy book
and that it was God's Word, so we didn't have to go all the way back to the very beginning.
heard that someone once said "Thou shalt not steal." He just didn't know it was one of the Ten Commandments.
Okay, that's the 7th Commandment.
And how about disobeying your parents? There's the 4th Commandment.
And let's see -- you wanted a new skateboard because your friends have them. Isn't that kind of like coveting?
There's the 10th Commandment.
And then there's this idea that you love this skateboard more than just about
anything in your life. Isn't that kind of like idolatry? There's the 1st Commandment.
And when your
mom and dad asked about where you got the skateboard, you lied and said someone "gave" it to you. That was a lie,
wasn't it? There's the 8th Commandment.
So you see, you've broken 5 of the 10 Commandments. And that
was before you know there were even ten of them!
Then he was curious. Like all kids his age. What were the other
five commandments? Oh man! That was an opportunity I could only pray for. I introduced him to Exodus 20 at that point.
His next question was just as easy to answer. I told him he'd have to write the 7th Commandment for me.
"How many times?" he asked.
"Well, how many dollars did you take?"
The long and
short of it was that he remembered that lesson. And so did I. When I was growing up, I never tried to break the commandments
but there were plenty of times that I made choices I'd rather not have made.
I still get a Christmas card from
this young man. He has never forgotten how he learned the Ten Commandments. He has since married and has children of his own.
I'll just bet his children know what the Ten Commandments are too. I do know they are all going to Sunday School, so I'll
just bet they've heard of the Ten Commandments, and yes, he gave me permission to share his story with you as long as
I don't tell you his name.
Think back to a time when you broke one of the commandments. Did it lead you to
other transgressions? You seldom break just one commandment at a time.
Heavenly Father: I thank you for sending your Spirit to guide me through every day of my life. And even though the Holy Spirit
can help me grow in righteousness, I know now that I am still a sinner. And because you have sent your son, Jesus Christ,
to die for my sins and rose again, I can share in his resurrection and life eternal. I thank you for that from the bottom
of my heart. Amen.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
We have returned safely to our home. We
came back late last night. We had planned on returning today but both Quint and I thought better of extending our stay another
day up north. Despite what the weather channel was telling us, it looked like all that rotation around the middle of the country
was going to dump more snow on the interstate that we needed to be on to get home.
Well, guess what? It started
snowing not too long after we arrived back home. And it kept on snowing through the night. It's more than a dusting laying
out there on the yard.
We were surprised to see lots of little hoof marks in the back yard, and on the side, and
right by the back door. Now, I'm not a naturalist or a wild animal expert but the prints look a lot like some deer came
knocking on the door. The little hoofy things were a giveaway and then there was the round thing that Quint says was a footpad.
The first time we saw the deer -- there are about five of them -- Quint went out right away and bought a salt lick for their
So okay. If there are deer out there snooping around for deer chow, can big cats be far away?
Or medium sized cougars? That means I will not be going all the way to the back of the property along about dusk. That is,
when the weather gets better. It's too cold now anyway.
It makes me think about the time when Cookie and I
went with Daddy to run his trot lines along the Red River in southern Arkansas. We must have either been too rambunctious
or too noisy at home or too naughty because Cookie and I were "jailed" in the back seat of the car.
Our "little brother" A.W. was snoozing in the front seat and I'm guessing that this was the time when mother
was pregnant with the yet-to-be-born brother James and needed a reprieve.
Cookie and I had a reputation of supporting
each others antics even back then. What one of us didn't think of, the other one did, so in that respect, we made a good
team. Our parents didn't have a chance. We used to crawl under the house to our "secret spot" and have meetings.
That is, until one day we saw a big humongous King Snake cuddled up in the corner giving himself a hug. We got out of there
and never went back. Besides, there were many other places that we could find where we could have our little whisper sessions.
Our eyes got as big as saucers when Daddy told us to keep the windows rolled up because there were panthers out there
in the bayous. His parting shot when he faded into the dark of night was that we'd recognize the panther scream because
it would sound just like a woman screaming. We stayed in the car!
I'd much rather stay inside and knit. Although
I did get a counted cross stitch kit when we went to Michaels while we were up north. The kit is actually the picture of a
cat taking a nap on a sewing table. It's a jigsaw puzzle that we put together years ago. The puzzle was fun to do and
I'm guessing that the embroidery kit will be also. There's lots of little things to embroider like spools of threads,
a sewing machine, open drawers with pretty ribbons cascading out of them. Instead of framing it, I'll make use it
for a pillow front.
But for now, I have to tend to the bread that's rising nicely. It's sitting there
in the kitchen yelling at me because it's almost risen up to the top of the bowl.
And I'm making a butternut
squash/cranberry dish for dinner. I like to boil the whole butternut squash for about ten minutes. It softens the hard-as-a-rock
squash so I don't have to worry about wounding myself cutting the thing open.
When it's cut open, take
all the seeds out of the middle part, then peel the squash and cut into little 1/2 inch cubes. I have fresh cranberries in
the refrigerator so I'll mix some of those in with the squash, then fry them for a bit. Maybe add a couple of tablespoons
of "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" (for flavor) to the fried medley when it's done. Then season
with salt and pepper and I'll have a fantastic side dish.
And Quint is begging for scones so I'm going
to have to try to find a good recipe for that. Not all recipes "transfer" to sugar free all that well, so I'll
have to read a bunch of recipes to see if I can figure out which one would get to live in my recipe box.
thank you again to all of you for your loving messages of support and comfort. I'm thinking of putting a lot of my thoughts
down in a kind of little diary called Hello, Sister Dear. That was how Cookie started out her conversations with
me. Sometimes it means that she and I would have to have a "discussion." Although we never had a fight in all our
60+ years, we did have disagreements that we quickly got resolved. Mainly because we loved each other all the way down to
our toenails and we vowed very early in our lives that we would never let anything interfere with our love for each other.
Not even the time she talked me into riding our bicycles from home in Paducah up to Kentucky Lake. It was only
about 15 miles away but it was up and down a lot of hills. Thought I was going to die! We didn't get very far. Certainly
not all the way to the lake. So we decided to give it up and rode into someone's driveway and called her boyfriend. When
he came to get us, we were sitting underneath a big shade tree sipping iced tea with our new favorite hostess. He threw
out bikes in the back of his truck and took us back to Paducah. We didn't try that trick again, believe me. There were
too many dogs running wild out in the country and the highway was a two-lane thing that gave us no room to ride on. The experience
gave us a good laugh for many years to come.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
My sister's wake is on Friday from
2 to 9 pm. She will enjoy the flowers that are being sent. Cookie loved flowers.
We planted Lily of the Valley
alongside her house last summer on one of our visits to see her. It was one of her favorite flowers. Then we brought some
Tiger Lilies. They were her favorite.
Truth is, there were no flowers that were not her favorites. If it bloomed,
it was one of Cookie's favorites.
This summer I will plant a rose in my rose garden that's right outside
the back door at the house. I'll find one of her favorite roses. Maybe a yellow rose for the friendship we celebrated
throughout our 65+ years together. In all those years, Cookie and I never had an argument, although we did reconcile more
than one disagreement.
She was my big sister and I knew I was in for it when she'd call and say, "Sister
Dear, I want to talk to you about something."
"Oh no," I'd think. "What did I do now?"
But it was never anything serious and it was never anything that would disrupt our sisterly love for each other.
Cookie's rose can nestle in with sixteen other beauties that I planted last year. Or maybe she'd rather be nearer
the Red Bud tree that I planted in memory of Mom last summer.
The Red Bud was one of mother's favorite. There's
a town in southern Illinois named after this beautiful tree. We used to drive over there from Paducah early in the spring
when the Red Bud were still laced out in their lavender finery and before the foliage had all turned to green.
will celebrate having a wonderful sister for all the rest of my days. Another dear one has moved on to heaven, and I'll
miss her tremendously.
Stop by to see me sometime, Sister Dear. Just give me a nudge and I'll know it's
you. I'll miss you -- no more phone calls. You won't be calling and telling Quint that you need a "sister fix."
But I know you'll be around. Do something to arouse the poet in my soul. I'll watch for you in the summer breezes.
BIBLE STUDY: Romans 7:1-25
In looking at the very first verse of this chapter,
I draw a parallel to my own career as a mental health counselor: Do you not know, brothers -- for I am speaking to men
who know the law -- that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives?
I draw that parallel because,
strictly speaking, rules of confidentiality end at death. That's why it's not all that unusual to hear people talking
about deceased individuals with impunity -- even psychiatrists or attorneys. I guess the idea is that dead people don't
have to worry about such things any longer.
But at some point in my ethical reckoning, I still believe it is wrong
and have promised all clients that their confidences will remain safe with me, even past the grave. That's ethics, not
forensics. To be sure, I have only used anecdotal information in disguise and only with specific permission if it would be
helpful to another client or, when I was teaching psychology at the colleges, a particular instance would be enlightening.
But Paul points out, in the very first verse of this chapter, that the authority of the law ended when a person died.
Well, of course. That makes sense. After a person dies, man's law goes by the wayside pretty quickly. I mean,
if people think they've gotten away from anything because they've somehow sidestepped the strong arm of the law, just
wait until God gets ahold of them.
God sees everybody. God watches all people from wherever he is sitting. God
keeps track. God is the one you ought to worry about if you're out there breaking laws.
Paul then uses an
example of marriage and how a woman is bound to stay married as long as her husband is living. When she becomes a widow, though,
she is free to marry someone else.
So the purpose of the law, remember, is to define what our transgressions are.
Paul says in verses 4-5: So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Jesus Christ, that you might belong
to another, to him who was raised frm the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.
For when we
were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit
Ah, yes, our old sinful nature is still churning away inside us. It's human nature to want
what we're not supposed to have. Satan beckons us down that slipper slope.
But Paul is saying that our old
sinful nature does not have to lead to the eternal death of our soul because we have been re-born in Jesus Christ.
Whatever it was that was leading us into sin was then -- not now. Through Jesus Christ, we have a new opportunity
to latch onto something so meaningful that heaven and earth moves us toward salvation. And you can bet that angels are dancing
on the streets of heaven bringing glory to God, who must be just about tickled to the heights of heaven!
once again tries to make a distinction between sin and transgression. It's an important difference because man became
sinner when Adam faltered in the Garden of Eden.
Sinful man continued to move through the generations afterwards.
Then Moses was given the laws first hand from God above.
Make no mistake about it -- that was another cosmic clock
moment for man on earth because now sinful man became a transgressing man.
Paul explains it this way: Is the
law sin? Certainly not!
Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have
known what coveting really was if the law had not said, "Do not covet." (verse 7)
between sin and transgression gets lost, sometimes, in the translation.
When we hear that we are sinners even if
we don't know we are sinning, we may be tempted to say, "Huh? How can that be?"
we tend to think of sin and transgression as one and the same thing. But they are not.
That is why it is important
for us to pray for forgiveness of all our sins, even the ones we don't know about, because we are born into sin and we
live in sin no matter how hard we try to obey the law. The truth is, we could probably do a pretty good job of living out
our days on earth without flagrantly breaking the ten commandments. But even so, it does not mean we are sin-free.
Paul does an incredible job of explaining this in verses 14-17: We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual,
sold as a slave to sin.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate
And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.
As it is,
it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.
This last sentence ought not to be a kind
of "nail of convenience" that sinners hang their hats on just because they're sinners. We still have to take
responsibility for our sins and living in our sinful nature.
And Paul isn't saying that man is not good, just
that man has to recognize his sinful nature, repent and claim the salvation that is gifted all mankind because God sent his
son, Jesus Christ to die to all of man's sins. All mankind. All sins.
We can never be free of sin, but we might
get pretty close to transgression-free.
Here's how Paul sums it up in verses 21-24: So I find this law
at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
For in my inner being I delight in God's
law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner
of the law of sin at work within my members.
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body
Uh, over here, Mr. Tarsus. I have my hand up, sir. Over here: Who else but none other than Jesus
Christ our Lord! (verse 25a).
So man and his laws do not bring us freedom from sin or freedom from transgression.
Whatever freedom we enjoy on earth and in heaven comes about only because of God's grace and the bounty he bestows
upon us through the death and resurrection of his son, Jesus Christ.
don't think we ever have to worry about the Apostle Paul putting lawyers out of business because there will always be
How do you view the difference between ethics, the law, and morality? Perhaps you've never thought
about the differences. If not, can you draw a line of distinction between sin and transgression?
to the Romans is rich in this distinction but Paul wasn't just trying to "split hairs" when he made the distinction.
Rather, he was trying to bring us to the knowledge the shame recognition comes about because of the law. Guilt comes about
because we realize that we've done something to separate us from God and it's this very guilt that becomes the paving
stone on the path toward righteousness, because it brings us to have the faith in God's promise of salvation.
We pray: Oh Lord, I would be lost forever to the slavery of sin if it were not for you and the salvation
you promise me because I believe that your gift from your son's death and resurrection is for me too. I thank you, Lord,
for this gift.
And I thank you for this gift for all my loved ones who are one step closer to eternity than I am.
I pray that they have all gathered around you to tell you of the love they have for my dear sister, Cookie (Anna Mae), as
she is welcomed into your presence.
And as Cookie leaves us this earth, those who are left behind become even
more precious to me. I pray for their safety -- for my cousin Mark (and his wife Corinne)who recuperates from knee replacement
-- for my cousin Al (and his wife Alice) who hopes for a window of opportunity to travel from Virginia to be a part of Cookie's
service of victory over death.
I pray for Quint and his remaining sisters, Alice and Jeanine. I pray for our kiddos
-- Vern, Sharon, Teri, and Dean -- and their spouses and children. I pray that you would bless them all and keep them in the
safety of your care. Amen.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
We didn't think Cookie would go so
fast. We'd prayed that she would at least be with us to celebrate her birthday on March 22nd.
But it was not
to be. She moved to the other side of heaven's shores yesterday afternoon at 3 p.m. And in her sleep at that. What a peaceful
way to depart this earth.
Now she's with our mother, father, step-father, two brothers and a whole host of
other loved ones who have predeceased her.
But hey, sister dear, I'm in no hurry so you're going to have
to keep my seat warm for a long, long time, I pray. Quint and I still have things to do and places to go. Besides, my plan
is to live to 135 years -- that would mean Quint and I would celebrate our 100th anniversary! What a hoot!
our daughter Sharon that yesterday and it cracked her up. That was when I called to tell her we'd like to move in for
a couple of days since we no longer have the condo up north.
So I ask for your prayers for safe travels, for peace
for Cookie's daughters and step-son. grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
This idea of justification that Paul was talking about apparently brought confusion with
Remember back in Chapter 5, Verse 20, Paul said, "The law was added so that the trespass might increase.
But where sin increased, grace increased all the more..."
So, the Romans wanted to know, what did Paul mean
when he said that where sin increased, grace increased...
Would it be okay then to just go have a grand old time
and not worry about how much sinning was going on because the more they sinned, the more there was to forgive and
the more forgiveness they got, the more grace God bestowed?
Now I can just visualize Paul's reaction to this
kind of thinking. Maybe something like, "Huh, are you kidding me?"
Paul, who tried so hard to bring a
sound logic to his point of view, must have been flabbergasted to think that he could have seriously been misunderstood like
this. And his "no way" response? Listen to what he says in verse 2: By no means! We died to sin; how can we
live in it any longer?
Paul continues to explain his point of view in verse 3 when he says that because we
are baptized into Christ -- that is, Christians receive Christ's baptism which brings grace to sinners -- not John's
baptism which did not bring grace.
John's baptism was a baptism into repentance for the remission of sins (Mark
1:1-4). Then John said, in verses 7-8: There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not
worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water, but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. KJV
Now Paul says that because we were baptized into Christ, we also are baptized into Christ's death. It is this
very act of Christ's baptism that brings us to resurrection. Through this baptism, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost
from God, our Heavenly Father, and just as Christ rose from the dead, we are promised that we will also.
because of this, we are freed from our slavery to sin.
The powerful point that Paul wants to make to the Romans
is that when we are blessed with the Holy Spirit and the promise of also rising from the dead, we ought to want to live
as Christ wants us to live. We aren't supposed to go around with this thought that we can sin all we want because
all will be forgiven.
No, not at all. Rather, baptism frees us from our slavery to sin -- from our willful desire
to sin to our heart's content. Because we have entered into this faithful new relationship with Christ, we will not want
to sin. We're free from the hold that sin has on us.
Paul says in verse 10: The death he died, he died
to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
That's the message. We live our lives faithful
We want to cut those ties that sin grabs us with. We read more in verses 12-14: Therefore do not let
sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
Do not offer the parts of your body to
sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life;
and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.
For sin shall not be your master,
because you are not under the law, but under grace.
So we are to offer our bodies to God as instruments
of righteousness. That means that we will do all that we can to be in a right relationship with God.
verse 17, Paul offers this hope: But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed
the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
To put in in human terms, as Paul says, when we are humanly weak because of our physically sinful selves, we
give ourselves up to all sorts of impurities because we just don't care about being a slave to righteousness like we should.
We continued to do the very things that brought about our death.
But then, after we have been set free from sin's
mastery over us and after we give our lives and our bodies to righteousness, we become slaves to what leads to holiness.
Paul closes this chapter with the Bible verse that has been memorized by school children in parochial schools all
across the land, and in Sunday schools and Vacation Bible Schools and catechism classes.
For the wages
of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
What could a right relationship with God possibly mean to us as sinners?
- no adultery. No stealing. No killing, or beating each other up. The end of domestic violence -- that would be a good thing.
No coveting of what our neighbor has, secretly wishing we had their new car (or camel, if you lived back in the
Think of all the ways that we use our body to sin -- smoking, alcohol and drug abuse -- things
that threaten to rip apart the cord that binds us to our Lord.
Do you think it would be fair to say something
like anything that interferes with our treating our bodies like the temple of the Lord?
We pray: I
thank you this morning for bringing me the peace of mind that comes in knowing that my sister has not died for she is with
you now forever. It is only the outer shell of her body that has gone back to the inanimate dust that she came from. It was
that outer shell that was racked by the pain of arthritis and then cancer. And now she is free and able to claim the everlasting
life that you promised her as your child. Her soul lives free with you now. I thank you for that.
I pray that you
will keep Quint and me safe in our travels to her funeral and our return back home.
But most of all, I thank you
that you bring to me Christ's baptism that gifts me with the Holy Spirit.
I pray for my cousin Mark who,
it turns out, is in rehabilitation, recuperating from knee surgery. I pray that you will send the healing power of the Divine
Physician Jesus Christ, to heal Mark's body and make him whole again.
I pray for Dean and Diane for the powers
of recuperation that only you can give to them. I pray that you would bless their lives with joy and newness that only you
can bring. Amen.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
Good morning to some of you, good evening
to some, and g'day to the rest! It is a big, big world. Someone came on from Finland about 11 pm last night.
That was about the time that I was reading a chapter of Pride and Prejudice. I just could not bear the suspense any
longer -- the not knowing how Austen was going to weave the rest of the romance around Lizzie and Darcy.
now, just knowing what's going to happen will let me settle down and watch how it happens next Sunday
And no, I do not call it cheating. I do the same thing with mystery novels. Makes perfectly good sense
to me not to have to go through all that angst and suffering through the mysteries of "the weave."
for all you avid readers out there, I am including a link -- just in case you don't have it -- for a site called Bibliomania.
Lots of books that you can download free and read -- chapter by chapter!
Here it is: http://www.bibliomania.com/0/0/frameset.html
But then, you folks are pretty savvy, so you probably have this link anyway. If you don't have this site bookmarked
already, now is the time. Lots and lots to read!
Can you believe it's only 12 degrees here in Illinois!? I'm
glad I didn't jump the gun and take those ugly cones off my beautiful little roses when we had all that 50 and 60 degree
sunshine days a week or so ago.
This must be winter's last blast. Surely, huh? Okay?
BIBLE STUDY: Romans 5:1-
Paul brings a new word -- a new concept -- to our study of our relationship
That word is justification. He had mentioned it before in Romans 3:28: For we maintain that
a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.
So justification and righteousness are different.
It is the Apostle Paul who is credited with developing this concept of justification and putting a name to it.
And it is in this fifth chapter of his Letter to the Romans that the divine authorship of his writings brings us to these
The cosmic clock was striking the minute hand of destiny, someone once said. It was God
the Father, who through Jesus Christ, was bringing the Holy Spirit to Paul in this divine authorship.
how he beings this chapter in verses 1-2: Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.
We have been justified by faith!
We have peace with God -- that is, peace of mind.
We have gained
access by faith into this grace.
So grace brings us into this right relationship with God (righteousness) only
if we have faith that salvation is ours, became ours through Jesus Christ's death and resurrection.
very microscopic point of time, the heavens open to us and we are brought into communion with God, our Heavenly Father --
because we have faith in what Jesus Christ did for each and every one of us. And we only get to our Heavenly Father by coming
to him through his son, Jesus Christ.
At that very moment when we accept this as an act of faith, our lives will
be forever changed. We become heirs to the kingdom of God. We need only to believe, for in believing, we exercise an act of
Through that act of faith, we then become justified.
It's so simple, and yet so enormously
complicated at the same time. That's mainly because if you don't have faith, you just can't understand how all
this could happen. Maybe if you read another book about faith, or watch another Christian video. Maybe -- maybe -- maybe --
it will all somehow miraculously sink in.
But that's not it. If this is what you're doing, you're making
it too hard.
You have only to believe that Christ died for your sins and that he rose from the dead. If you truly
believe that, then you have faith. If you aren't sure, then you don't believe. You've pushed faith away from yourself.
And you are not righteous. And because you aren't righteous, you are not justified.
It comes back to faith.
You either have it or you don't. It's the fulcrum that everything else rests upon.
Paul then talks about
where suffering leads in verses 3-5: Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings,
because we know
that suffering produces perseverance;
and character, hope.
does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
God's love takes up residence in our hearts, through the Holy Spirit. And because of this special relationship
of love, God continues to live within us. We must never reject this love, for God is love. This love is the very essence of
God himself. Nothing that you would ever ever want to cast aside for you would do so at your everlasting peril.
Paul introduces justification, he does so by talking about both Adam and Jesus Christ.
Adam was the first
man that God created. Adam brought sin into the world.
Jesus was the first and only son of God. Jesus brought salvation
to the world.
Because of Adam, we were dead in our sin (verse 12b).
So you see, sin was in the world
long before Moses brought the 10 Commandments down from Mt. Sinai. But by having the law, we become more aware of how we are
sinning. Our sins now have names because of the law that Moses brought to us from God.
Then comes the Son of God.
Through Jesus Christ, God brings grace to each of us. It is through this grace that God brings justification to us. Paul explains
it in verse 17: For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who
receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
Again, in verses 20-21, Paul reiterates the purpose of the law: The law was added so that the trespass might
increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might
reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
So we have the law to show
us where redemption is needed.
We need to think of justification as a
real act of God -- it's not some theoretical construct hanging out there in the wind for theologians to pick apart and
show us how big their minds are.
Oh no. For sure, Jesus Christ died for our sins and he rose again from the dead.
Let all the theologians who care to, busy themselves with counting the number of angels dancing on a pin head.
I can read their mighty accounts of their great intellect right along with the best of them, but I don't need
All I need to know is that Jesus Christ died for my sins. All of my sins. Even the sins I don't know about
because, like it or not, I was born into sin.
I thank God every day of my life that he has brought me to grace
because I most certainly believe that one day when I die, I will cross over to heaven's shores and be with Jesus Christ
and all the saints of heaven who worship and praise God every day.
When it comes to faith, I prefer the simple
path to God. That path is through Jesus Christ.
During the quiet times when you're settling down after reading
this study, think of how God has gifted your life with his grace.
Father: I thank you for sending your son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins.
I pray that you will send your Holy
Spirit to all who are struggling with cementing their faith to you. Help them in their struggles find that tiniest of little
openings into their heart so that you can bring the glorious light of salvation to fill the vast empty spaces within them.
I pray for my sister who is in the midst of her life and death struggles. She looks forward to being with all of you
in heaven. I pray that you will receive her for her faith has never wavered from you.
I pray for safe travels
for all who come from far away places to attend to her.
I thank you for giving Quint and me the opportunity to
say goodbye to her when we were in the hospital. In your divine knowing, you always put us at the exact place where you want
us to be at the right time. Thank you for that. Amen.
Monday, February 18, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
We are finally getting into that time of
late winter when temperatures are staying in the thirty degree range. I'll take it and be thankful for it. My little daffodils
are getting more and more nerve each day. They're about an inch tall now.
Oh, I have to tell you about the
new neighbor whoooooo has moved into the evergreen tree in the back yard. (That was a clue.)
Anyway, he's about
two feet tall and Anna, my neighbor to the south, tells me he has a huuuuuuge wingspan -- at least a yard wide. I haven't
seen him on the wing yet. He just sits up there and watches me and sings his little one note samba when he feels like it.
But I haven't seen any mice so I'm guessing he's doing his job. He's be entirely welcome to take any
and all snakes he might find in the yard too. I like owls. A lot.
We had one up north too. He lived in the big
tree out in front of our condo. So now I hear the serenade during the night. No surprise I wake up wondering where I
The big project -- in between clients today -- is to go upstairs and work on the guest bedroom some more. There
are still boxes up there that are unpacked. So after all this time, there couldnt' possibly be anything that we either
need or want. Right?
Well, not necessarily. On one of my last forays, I found Josephus. Josephus was an
early historian who compiled data for the Romans. It was a treasure find because every once in a while I want to know
what Josephus had to say about some of the early apostles. Or the times he lived in.
I watched another segment
of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice last night. PBS is presenting all of her work in a Masterpiece Classics
series. Last night was the second evening of Pride and Prejudice and since each segment is two hours long, I was
certain that Lizzie would land her the most delicious Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, played by Colin Firth. Well, sort of. The
haughty naughty Mr. Darcy did confess his undying love for Elizabeth (he never calls her "Lizzie" -- too too common).
To which Lizzie said she can't imagine what circumstance there could possibly be that would even allow her
to want to marry him. He was stunned! I mean, who does Lizzie think she is anyway. Here she was -- the second born
of five daughters, without prospects (that's what they called eligible bachelors in those days) and here comes Darby,
enormously wealthy with thousands of acres of land in, of all places, Pemberley. He even owns towns. All
this give him a rather handsome income of 10,000 pounds a year.
I mean, you know that Lizzie is going to
somehow end up marrying Darby and live happily ever after. Jane Austen's heroines are given such successes by the stroke
of Austen's pen. Just don't remember how she is going to weave the story. If I had a copy of the book, I'd read
the end of it. Might just take a run up to the library today.
Nah -- that would spoil the suspense, wouldn't
it?. Besides, I already read the plot line on Wikipedia.
BIBLE STUDY: Romans 4:1-25
Can you imagine a missionary -- any missionary -- going out into the world to convert people who faithfully and
strongly believe something that was a whole lot different?
This is what my view of Paul is. He hadn't gone
out into an evil religion that threw virgins down into a volcano on Saturday nights.
Not by a long shot. He went
up against the faithful followers of Judaism. These are the very same people who had Moses, the granite scribe of the 10 Commandments,
in their corner. These are the same people who thought they were being faithful to a covenant relationship with the one true
They even had Abraham, the righteous patriarch Abraham, father of us all. It says that in the Bible. Abraham
was a righteous man. The Jews believed that with all their heart.
So here comes Paul's letter to the Romans.
The first things Paul does in this chapter is go all the way back to Genesis 15:6 -- Abram believed the Lord, and he credited
it to him as righteousness.
Abram believed the Lord. Believed what? Well, for starters, God told Abram that
his descendants were going to be as numerous as the stars that were visible to the naked eye. But Abram was an old man --
too old to be having babies. Besides, his wife was way past the age where she could conceive.
matter. If God said so, then it was going to happen. Didn't matter that it would be a miracle. That was Abram's
faith. It was something between him and God. Abram believed. God counted his faith as righteousness.
requires an object. We have to have something to believe in to have faith. For Abram, that faith was a belief that God would
do what he said he was going to do. That faith is what God counted. Abram's faith brought him to a righteous relationship
with God. The object of faith is God. It must be so.
Righteous -- there's that word again. What exactly does
righteousness mean? Clearly it doesn't mean perfect, or without sin. We're all sinners. Even Abram was a sinner.
Here comes my point. In Genesis 15:6 God said that Abram was a righteous man.
Earmark this verse as a
kind of time reference.
Now we've talked about circumcision and how the Jews believed that the act of circumcision
was what they thought was an act of faith in their covenant relationship with God. Circumcision was made them right with
God, therefore righteous. And because of this covenant relationship, they were assured of paradise.
Paul says, not so fast.
The requirement of circumcision didn't come about until Genesis 17:9-11 -- Then
God said to Abraham, "As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to
come. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall
be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you..."
The promise of this covenant relationship that came out of circumcision was after God had said Abram
was righteous. So, circumcision does not make a person righteous.
Righteousness, then, is being in a right
relationship with God -- righteousness is leading a life that is pleasing to God.
In Psalm 37:12-13, we learn
that The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows
their day is coming.
And in Psalm 37:16-17, Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth
of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.
quotes from the Psalms are for our edification and to help define righteousness. We don't know if Paul quoted
this psalm to the Romans. He didn't in this letter to them.
There were two giant hurdles for Paul to help
the Jews in Rome get beyond.
The first was their sincere belief that circumcision was their act of faith in the
covenant relationship they believed they had with God.
And their belief that the Jewish people were the chosen
people of God.
Paul was able to get them around the notion that circumcision brought them to righteousness by pointing
out that God called Abram righteous in Genesis 15 before the requirement of circumcision was ordered by God in Genesis 17.
Okay. Got that. Now about the Gentiles. Again, back to Abram when God promised that his descendants would be all
nations. That included the Gentiles. Very important point, because now the Jews and Gentiles could worship and believe
So Paul says in verses 9-12: Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised?
We have been saying that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness. Under what circumstances was
Was it after he was circumcised, or before?
It was not after, but before!
he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised.
So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not beencircumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited
And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps
of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
So it was not because of the law that
Abraham and his descendants received God's promise of inheriting the world, but rather, it was through the righteousness
that comes because of their faith. (verse 13)
Paul takes this point and goes further with it in verse 14: ...if
those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath. And where there
is no law there is no transgression.
Paul is telling them that the law defines what a transgression is. But
if there is no law, then there is no transgression. But this doesn't mean that there is no sin if there is no law.
No no no. It's not that easy. We're still sinners. Without laws we may not be transgressors but we're
Sin is what separates us from God. Faith is what gets us right with God.
as cultures change. For instance, in some states, it is a homicide if an unborn child dies when its mother is murdered. Not
all states have that law, though. So you see, laws can even differ from one locale to another.
But sin? Sin is
defined by God. It doesn't change from one culture to another, nor from one locale to another.
another point to the Romans starting at verse 23, because Paul wants them, and us, to know the import of Christ
coming to earth to die for our sins and to be delivered over to death for our sins, and raised to life for our justification
Think about this: The miracle of Abram fathering a child required monumental faith at his advanced
age. Another birth was prophesied as we travel through the Old Testament. It promised another miraculous birth. This
second birth would bring righteousness to all of us through faith in Jesus Christ's death for our sins and his
resurrection from the dead.
Paul was calling on all believers then, and now, to get right with God. Paul was calling
all believers to have faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Faith. That's how we get right with God.
Faith is why God calls us righteous.
What strengths of Paul did God use
to do missionary work?
This particular chapter, at least to me, seems very legalistic. And like a good attorney,
Paul wants the Romans to really understand the importance of this word righteousness. It's peppered throughout
the Old Testament hundreds of times. But how often do we read over it without really thinking about what it means.
Righteousness requires faith. What do you do in your life that shows others that your have faith in God?
reminded of a story of a missionary in India who was sent to grow new churches for the kingdom of God. He prayed and he prayed.
At best, he was able to develop 25 new churches a year as he made his rounds through the countryside. But he wanted to bring
more people to know Christ. So he asked his sending church back in the United States to get people to pray for his mission
work every day. I don't know how many pray-ers he had, exactly, but it didn't take long before his new churches had
grown to over a thousand.
Do you pray with others? Prayer is a powerful act of faith.
stopping by this site to read God's word. If you do not have a good study Bible, I would encourage you to get into Google
or your favorite search engine and and learn as much as you can as we go along here.
Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that you would bless all who have come here today to learn more about you and your Word.
I pray that you would bless those who are ill at this time so that they will know the healing powers of your Son,
the Divine Healer.
I thank you for sending your son to die for my sins. It was nothing I could do to deserve such
a thing, but I will be forever grateful to know that redemption and salvation are mine because of your loving sacrifice.
I thank you for all your blessings and for showering this site with daily growth. I pray that you will continue to
enlarge my territory and I thank you for pointing me in the right direction in my search for truth.
I pray that
you would guide Dean and Diane in their struggles at this time. Bless them, and bless their work.
I pray for my
sister, Cookie, who is standing on the threshold of joining you and all those she loves who have predeceased her. I pray for
strength for her daughters, Karen, Robin and Cindy in the long tearful grief that awaits them.
I pray for Quint
and thank you for the continued blessing of health for him, and for me as well. Thank you for the strength you give us to
do your work at our age. Amen.
Friday, February 15, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
Gone are the days when we must "all
take our turn" governing these United States -- according to the words of Thomas Jefferson, I believe.
then, we've become too populated and there aren't enough places for us all to take turns. There are too many dynastic
little political foothills that are only perceived as mountains. It's the polarity of points of view that make peaks seem
loftier than they are.
We need to get back down here in the valleys where compromises are made and lived by. Mountain
peaks are black and white pinnacles of power, but it's the gray world of valleys where real people live. Seems like all
the politicians have forgotten that.
The mental health of our country depends on political gray. That's where
reason is. In the gray valleys of civility.
Individuals who enjoy good mental health have coping skills that keep
their rationale in the gray areas. We do not live in a black and white world of dichotomous thinking. Life is gray.
And that's what I'm thinking about this morning. How about you?
My prayers go out to the families of
the students who are shot and killed by a senseless gunman former student Steven Kazmierczak this morning. The gunman shot
and killed himself before the police even got on the scene just moments after he entered the lecture hall and started pulling
Six dead and I believe 17 wounded. Some of the wounded are head injuries so let's pray that they
What is wrong with people? I ask myself that all the time. Here are some headlines from this morning that
are just bizarre:
Driver Abandons Bus Full of Ex-Prisoners on Highway (Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,330753,00.html) See -- it was quitting time and never mind that she was 60 miles short of reaching her goal of the bus terminal in Dallas.
New Orleans Mayor Takes Heat for Playing With Gun (Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,330722,00.html) But it was okay because it turns out that the incident happened at a public safety press conference and Nagin wasn't
really pointing the gun at the policeman, it just looked that way.
Amish Ready to go to Jail Over Outhouse (CNN:
http://www.wjactv.com/news/15305331/detail.html) Didn't know there were still outhouses anywhere in the United States. On people's estates, that is. I realize there
are lots of porta potties at festivals and public parks. I'm not that disconnected.
Putin Says at
a Minimum a Head of State Should Have a Head (Politico: http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0208/Putin_vs_Clinton.html) Putin was commenting about Hillary who had previously said that Putin didn't have a soul. Are we supposed to chalk that
Hillary comment up to her vast foreign relations experience?
And on a good note: Figure Skating: Japan's Takahaski
Wins Four Continent Crown (Breitbart: http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8UQQFF02&show_article=1&catnum=0) And just in case you want to see some super skating, check these programs out where Takahaski skates to the beautiful music
I think it's time we pay more attention to people doing good things. I will warn you though that
the commentaries are not sub-titled and I don't speak Japanese so I have no idea what they're saying. But it's
easy to see when Takahaski hits the quads just from the roar of the crowd. Besides, his twirlies are higher and he stays in
the air longer. My deduction is that they are quads!
Good job! What a skater.
AGE COMES WISDOM -- from Alice Stubbe
A guy is 80 years old and loves to fish and play golf.
He was sitting in his boat the other day when he heard a voice say, "Pick me up."
He looked around
and couldn't see anyone. He thought he was dreaming when he heart the voice say again, "Pick me up." He looked
in the water and there, floating on top, was a frog.
The man asked, "Are you talking to me?"
The frog said, "Yes, I'm talking to you. Pick me up, then, kiss me and I'll turn into the most beautiful woman
you have ever seen. I'll make sure that all your friends are envious and jealous because I will be your bride."
The man looked at the frog for a short time, reached over, picked it up carefully, and placed it in his front breast
Then the frog said, "What -- are you nuts? Didn't you hear what I said? I said kiss me and I will
be your beautiful bride."
He opened his pocket, looked at the frog and said, "Nah, at my age, I'd
rather have a talking frog."
TWO GREAT CHICAGO STORIES -- BOTH TRUE -- from
Story Number One: Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn't
famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution
Capone had a lawyer nicknamed "Easy Eddie." He was his lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was
very good! In fact, Eddie's skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.
To show his
appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big, but also, Eddie got special dividends. For instance,
he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so
large that it filled an entire Chicago City block.
Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little
consideration to the atrocity that went on around him. Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son whom he loved dearly.
And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to
be a better man than he was. Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn't give his son: he
couldn't pass on a good name or a good example.
One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie
wanted to rectify wrongs he had done. He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al "Scarface"
Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would have to testify against
the mob, and he knew that the cost would be great!
So, he testified. Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended
in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago street. But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer,
at the greatest price he could ever pay. Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and
a poem clipped from a magazine:
The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power
tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.
Now is the only time you own.
Live, love, toil with
Place no faith in time
For the clock may soon be still.
Story Number Two: World War
II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft
carrier Lexington in the South Pacific. One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked
at his fuel gage and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete
his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of
formation and headed back to the fleet.
As he was returning to the mother ship he saw something that turned his
blood cold; a squadron of Japanese aircraft were speeding their way toward the American fleet. The American fighters were
gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron on and bring them back in time
to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger.
There was only one thing to do. He must
somehow divert them from the fleet. Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes.
Wing-mounted 50 calibers blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and
out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spend. Undaunted,
he continued the assault. He dove at the planes in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit
Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch and his
battered fighter limped back to the carrier.
Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his
return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt
to protect his fleet. He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft.
This took place on February 20, 1942, and
for that action Butch became the Navy's first Ace of WWII and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of
A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29.
His home town would not allow
the memory of this WWII hero to face, and today, O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this
So, the next time you find yourself at O'Hare International Airport, give some thought to visiting
Butch's memorial displaying his statue and his Medal of Honor. It's located between Terminals 1 and 2.
what do these two stories have to do with each other? Butch O'Hare was "Easy Eddie's" son.
A WARM DOGGIE STORY -- from Kathy Brandenburg
An old, tired-looking dog wandered
into the yard. I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home.
He followed me into the house,
down the hall, and fell asleep in a corner.
An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out.
next day he was back, resumed his position in the hall, and slept for an hour. This continued for several weeks.
Curious, I pinned a note to his collar. "Every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap."
next day he arrived with a different note pinned to his collar. "He lives in a home with ten children. He's trying
to catch up on his sleep. Can I come with him tomorrow?"
BIBLE STUDY: Romans
I can just see Paul sitting at a table with only the light from an oil lamp to light his writing.
He starts out kind of lukewarm. It's an old, familiar position for him -- all this talk about circumcision. Then he starts
to build toward a crescendo and the next thing you know, the chapter begins to read like a dash to the finish line at the
end of the 31 verses. He makes his points. He weaves in and out of the rebuttals he perceives could be forthcoming. One by
one, he neutralizes them all. And he leaves the Romans with one thought -- it is Paul's hallmark point -- it's grace
from God. You can't earn your way into paradise. You just can't do it.
Ah, but the Jews keep hanging onto
this notion that the circumcision is their guaranteed ticket that will get them into heaven.
The Jews still practiced
circumcision -- but Paul is saying they do this for reasons other than an act of faith. Rather, as we read previously in this
chapter, the Jews figured that if they continued to uphold the act of circumcision according to the old laws handed down to
their ancestors, then God would see them as faithful followers. And because they were faithful followers, they would get their
entry invitation into paradise.
Now, along comes Paul who is telling them that there's something more that
they need to do. Circumcision is one thing. If they practice it with faith in their hearts, then they'll be okay. But
if they practice it as a kind of "cost of admission," then they're not getting into heaven at all.
Paul brings a new meaning to the word "righteousness." And it's God who is able to make man righteous.
Now comes this concept of grace. It's a new word to expand the vocabulary of the Jewish people. Well, all people
What Paul seems to be trying so hard to do here is integrate the Jewish people and the Gentiles into
one believing group of faithful followers. But the first thing that the Jewish people have to do is reconcile this notion
of theirs that circumcision makes them more better than the Gentiles. That's what their ancestors taught them and they
believed that's what God expected of them. And if the Gentiles weren't circumcised, then they were somehow flawed
only because -- or so it appeared to the Jews -- they had not or would not enter into the same covenant relationship with
God that the Jews had done. And if they hadn't, then they couldn't have God's covenant or blessing.
was a tremendous hurdle for Paul to get beyond. Fortunately for him, he had the guidance of the Holy Spirit who was putting
the words in his mouth.
Paul says in verses 9-18: What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all!
We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written:
is no one righteous, not even one;
There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.
All have turned away, they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good, not even
Their throats are open graves;
Their tongues practice deceit.
poison of vipers is on their lips.
Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.
feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.
is no fear of God before their eyes.
So out of this rather long list of things gone wrong with sinful man,
the last verse says they don't even fear God. That is, there is no reverence and it's this reverence of God that initiates
But in verse 19, Paul says the whole world is accountable to God. So if the whole world is
accountable, Jews and Gentiles alike, how are the Gentiles going to be held accountable since they never had the Mosaic law
to obey in the first place?
Read what Paul says in verse 20: Therefore no one will be declared righteous in
his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
Shame recognition. It's
about shame recognition. How many times have I counseled children and had them discover that yes, indeed, they knew
they had done something wrong at the point of shame recognition.
Children have to learn this; otherwise,
it's just white stuff falling out of an overturned glass and cascading onto the floor below. They learn not to tip over
the glass of milk -- not that it was purposeful misbehavior -- just something they ought not to be doing. Just hearing that
"Oh, for crying out loud" from mom or dad, who had to clean up the mess is often enough for children to make
sure it doesn't happen again.
Adam and Eve became aware of their nakedness -- shame recognition.
The law, says Paul, makes us conscious of our sin (verse 20b).
And here comes the gospel message, restated powerfully
for the Romans, in verses 21-25: But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law
and the Prophets testify.
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace
through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
The playing field just got leveled. The Jews go to worship
on the Sabbath and they sit right next to Gentiles who are also worshiping with them. It's not going to be like it used
to be when the Gentiles -- if they were allowed in the synagogue at all -- had to sit somewhere not close to the Jews. The
Gentiles were pagans. Probably not even supposed to be in the synagogue.
Now, here comes this guy -- Paul -- who's
telling the Jews that they're just like the Gentiles and it doesn't matter whether they're circumcised or not,
because it's not like it used to be in the old days.
So this Jesus Christ had come down from heaven. He was
the Son of God and he would die on the cross. No more would anyone on the face of the earth need to make a sacrificial atonement
on the altar at the temple because Christ's blood was shed for the sins of every man, woman and child on the planet.
And the blood of Christ was shed for Jew and Gentile alike. We only have to believe in Jesus Christ who brought God's
righteousness to us all. It justifies us -- all of us who have faith in Jesus Christ (verse 26).
So how do we get
some of this faith? If that's all it takes is faith, where does it come?
Paul brings this promise from God
in verse 30: [S]ince there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that
And here comes the big question at the end of this chapter: Do we, then, nullify the law
by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law (verse 31).
seems to me that Paul was anticipating an accusation in this last sentence. That accusation could come from false apostles
running around Rome telling the believers that Paul is telling them they didn't have to obey the law anymore.
In fact, a similar message had been misinterpreted in Corinth and it took some doing for Paul to get in there and explain
what he meant.
As we get further into this letter to the Romans, we will get a fuller explanation of Paul's
explanation of this position.
When it comes to sin, do you think there are some sins that are worse than others?
For instance, do you think it's more wrong to kill someone than it is to commit adultery? Or maybe more sinful to rob
a bank than it is to tell lies about someone?
These are sins against the 10 Commandments and yet we tend to think
of some sins as being more serious than others.
Truth is, we are all sinners. And our sins are sometimes perceived
as bigger ones; sometimes smaller ones. But we need to let the blood of Christ wash over us and cleanse us from our sins.
All of them.
Think about how important it is to wrap our hearts around this notion of Christ's atonement for
us -- especially in this season of Lent.
Do we hang onto our guilt and shame so that Christ can't get across
the barrier we've put between him and our sin? Forgiveness is ours for the asking.
God promised. It is so.
We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for the gift of salvation that is mine
because you sent your Son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins. All my sins. The big ones and the little ones.
help me see that in your eyes, a sin is a sin and I pray that you will help me get away from this keeping score that
I've been doing. I pray that you will send your Holy Spirit into my heart to clean out all the cobwebs of misguided thinking
so that I can let you into every nook and corner of my heart and my soul.
I pray that you will be with me as I
go through this day and I thank you for your guidance and care and love.
I pray that you will surround all those
I love to keep them safe.
I pray that you will seat good Christian leaders into places of governance throughout
I thank you for all your blessings. Amen.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
This morning we need to pray for the health
and well-being of Billy Graham who had surgery to update a shunt that controls fluids in his brain. At this writing, he is
in fair condition in the hospital and is expected to be up walking around shortly. He needed a new valve that will maintain
fluid and pressure levels. The beloved 89-year-old evangelist is expected to make a full recovery.
McCain is getting a much-needed reprieve today. He's is in the Bahamas on an R&R tour. Probably
doing some think tank stuff. Don't know if you've ever been around a political campaign but I have. I can tell you
that the politicians are always campaign, except for that tiny little ten day window immediately after the polls
close. But after that, they're always on.
And local, grassroots politics at the township level is
not much different from the big frenzies at the state and national levels. Only difference is the number of zeros after ticket
prices and more volunteers at the local level. But the egos are just as big and the feelings of "righteousness"
at least as humongous.
Those were not the good old days when I was a secretary in a township office and a precinct
captain. Eons ago. That was years before I went back to school to finish what I left undone in the academic world.
My life filled up with the beauty of babies, then Girl Scout troops. Then back to work, starting as a secretary. The world
should be nicer to secretaries. They get things done!
REMEMBER OUR TROOPS -- from
Al Stubbe and Mark Stubbe
You complain of a headache and call in sick. He gets shot at as others are hit,
and keeps moving forward.
You put on your anti-war/don't support the troops shit and go meet up with your friends.
He still fights for your right to wear that shirt.
You make sure your cell phone is in your pocket. He clutches
the cross hanging on his chain next to his dog tags.
You talk trash about your "buddies" that aren't
with you. He knows he may not see some of his buddies again.
You walk down the beach, staring at all the pretty
girls. He patrols the streets, searching for insurgents and terrorists.
You complain about how hot it is. He wears
his heavy gear, not daring to take off his helmet to wipe his brow.
You go out to lunch and complain because the
restaurant got your order wrong. He doesn't get to eat today.
Your maid makes your bed and washes your clothes.
He wears the same things for weeks, but makes sure his weapons are clean.
You go to the mall and get your hair
redone. He doesn't have time to brush his teeth today.
You're angry because your class ran five minutes
over. He's told he will be held over an extra two months.
You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight.
He waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home.
You hug and kiss your girlfriend, like you do every
day. He holds his letter close and smells his love's perfume.
You roll your eyes as a baby cries. He gets a
letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they'll ever meet.
You criticize your government and
say that war never solves anything. He sees the innocent tortured and killed by their own people and remembers why he's
You hear the jokes about the war and make fun of men like him. He hears the gunfire, bombs and screams
of the wounded.
You see only what the media wants you to see. He sees the broken bodies lying around him.
You are asked to go to the store by your parents. You don't. He does exactly what he is told even if it puts his life
You stay at home and watch TV. He takes whatever time he is given to call, write home, sleep, and eat.
You crawl into your soft bed with down pillows, and get comfortable. He tries to sleep but gets awakened by mortars
and helicopters all night long.
PUPPY SIZE -- from Antoinette Oberheu
"Danielle keeps repeating it over and over again. We've been back to this animal shelter at least five times. It
has been weeks now since we started all of this," the mother told the volunteer.
"What is it she keeps
asking for?" the volunteer asked.
"Puppy size!" replied the mother.
"Well, we have
plenty of puppies, if that's what she's looking for."
"I know -- we've seen most of them,"
the mom said in frustration.
Just then Danielle came walking into the office.
"Well, did you fine
one?" asker her mom.
"No, not this time," Danielle said with sadness in her voice. "Can we
come back on the weekend?"
The two women looked at each other, shook their heads and laughed.
never know when we will get more dogs. Unfortunately, there's always a supply," the volunteer said.
took her mother by the hand and headed to the door. "Don't worry, I'll find one this weekend," she said.
Over the next few days both mom and dad had long conversations with her. They both felt she was being too particular.
"It's this weekend or we're not looking anymore," Dad finally said in frustration.
want to hear anything more about puppy size either," mom added.
Sure enough, they were the first ones in the
shelter on Saturday morning. But now Danielle knew her way around, so she ran right for the section that housed the smaller
Tired of the routine, Mom sat in the small waiting room at the end of the first row of cages. There was an
observation window so you could see the animals during times when visitors weren't permitted.
slowly from cage to cage, kneeling periodically to take a closer look. One by one the dogs were brought out and she
held each one.
One by one she said, "Sorry, you're not the one."
It was the last cage
on this last day in search of the perfect puppy.
The volunteer opened the cage door and the child carefully picked
up the dog and held it closely. This time she took a little longer.
"Mom, that's it! I found the right
puppy! He's the one! I know it!" she screamed with joy. "It's the puppy size!"
it's the same size as all the other puppies you held over the last few weeks," mom said.
size -- the sighs. When I held him in my arms, he sighed," she said.
"Don't you remember? When I
asked you one day what love is, you told me love depends on the sighs of your heart. The more you love, the bigger the sigh!"
The two women looked at each other for a moment. Mom didn't know whether to laugh or cry. As she stopped down
to hug her child, she did a little of both.
"Mom, every time you hold me, I sigh. When you and Daddy come
home from work and hug each other, you both sigh. I knew I would find the right puppy if it sighed when I held it in my arms,"
Then holding the puppy up close to her face, she said, "Mom, he loves me. I heard the sighs of his
Close your eyes for a moment and think about the love that makes you sigh. I not only find it in the
arms of my loved ones, but in the caress of a sunset, the kiss of the moonlight and the gentle brush of cool air on a hot
They are the sighs of God. Take the time to stop and listen; you will be surprised at what you hear.
Remember: Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
HERE'S A QUIZ TO ENTERTAIN YOU DURING THE LONG WINTRY NIGHTS -- from Becky Mayfield
This is a quiz for people who know everything. I found out in a hurry that I didn't. These are not trick questions.
They are straight questions with straight answers.
1. Name the one sport in which neither the spectators nor the
participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends.
2. What famous North American landmark is constantly
3. Of all the vegetables, only two can life to produce on their own for several growing seasons.
All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?
4. Wha fruit has
its seeds on the outside?
5. In many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle.
The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn't been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the
6. Only three words in standard English begin with the letters "dw" and they are all common words.
Name two of them.
7. There ae 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name at least half of them?
8. Name the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form except fresh.
9. Name 6 or more things that you can wear on your feet beginning with the letter "S."
2. Niagara Falls -- The rim is worn down about two and a half feet each year because of the millions
of gallons of water that rush over it every minute.
3. Asparagus and rhubarb
5. The bottles are
placed over pear buds when they are small, and are wired in place on the tree. The bottle is left in place for the entire
growing season. When the pears are ripe, they are snipped off at the stems.
6. Dwarf, dwell and dwindle
comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point, quotation marks, brackets, parenthesis,
braces, and ellipses.
9. Shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, slippers, skis, skates, snowshoes, stockings,
BIBLE STUDY: Romans 2:1-29
In this chapter, Paul outlines
how God is going to inflict judgment. And he raises the question again about circumcision. This was an important pillar of
faith for the Jewish people -- maybe even the one significant difference between the Jews and the Gentiles.
it wasn't the act of circumcision itself, but rather, the significance of that act. Circumcision meant that the Jewish
person had a covenant relationship with God that went all the way back to antiquity.
Paul opens this chapter with
instructions about how God judges people -- and it doesn't have much to do with whether or not they are circumcised either.
Paul says that people ought not to judge others. When they do this, they are also condemning themselves because humanness
brings with it this inability to lead lives free of sin.
That is an important criteria God uses when
he judges us. Paul brings a warning here that we condemn ourselves when we accuse other people of sin, because we, too, are
sinners. So unless we're perfect, we should just be quiet about what other people are doing wrong.
tattling is annoying. It's annoying to us as earthly parents, and apparently it's hugely annoying to God. Listen to
verse 3: So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape
Then, in verse 4, Paul tells the Jews to not misconstrue God's kindness and patience
because these kindnesses are meant to bring people to redemption. My Concordia Study Bible has a footnote that explains it
this way: The Jews had misconstrued [God's] patience to be a lack of intent to judge. (p. 1718)
having the authority to speak about such matters, wants the believers in Rome -- Jews and Gentiles alike -- to just stop
it! He says they are stubborn and have an unrepentant heart and because they are apparently keeping score of the wrongs that
other people are doing, they are storing up God's wrath that will come down on their heads when the day of judgment comes
for all people.
In verse 6, Paul warns: God will give to each person according to what he has done.
Wow! What happened to the God who paved the way to salvation by his grace?
Well folks, just because God
is a gracious God, it doesn't mean you can sin on purpose and pray for forgiveness in advance of sinning.
indeed. If you are a true believer and have faith in your heart, you are going to lead a life that resists sin. Not that you
can ever be perfect, but you can be as good as you can be. And God is not in any mood to be all that gracious to lazy Christians,
it seems to me.
So even though you aren't ever going to buy your way into heaven with your good behavior, your
faith will lead you to God's grace because you will always be trying to resist sin.
God notices such things.
Don't think for one minute that he isn't paying attention to each and every thing that we do as we go through our
days. Take a look at what the Holy Spirit -- through Paul -- says in verses 9-11: There will be trouble and distress for
every human being who does evil; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does
good; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.
Okay -- so put that gun away.
You aren't going to rob anybody! And cancel that date with your lover. Stay home with your spouse instead. And for
crying out loud, quit all that gossiping. You know that God doesn't want to hear you talking about other people. While
you're at it, go through your purses or pockets and put all those pens back in your desk where they belong. The company
you work for is not in the business of supplying you with pens, however cheap they are.
Think about these words
from verse 13: For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the
law who will be declared righteous.
Just in case the Jews might have thought they were okay in feeling their
self-righteousness, Paul goes after that way of thinking. Oh, for sure, he knew exactly how that mind-logic got wrapped around
their heads because he had been a self-righteous Jew himself at one time, back in the old days.
In our present
day, we would say something like "pot can't call the kettle black."
The monologue in verses 17-24
clearly is aimed at this kind of self-righteous thinking. Paul takes dead aim at how the Jews had wrapped their self-righteousness
around their "uppitiness." Paul puts the Jews on notice that it isn't going to fly with him, and it isn't
going to fly with God either: Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship
if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; if
you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish,
a teacher of infants, because you have in the law th embodiment of knowledge and truth -- you, then, who teach others, do
you not teach yourself? you who preach against stealing, doyou steal?
You who say that people should not
commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
You who brag about the
law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because
Uh oh! Now Paul is saying that the Jews are leading the Gentiles into a really big sin
against the Holy Spirit: blasphemy. That would be big trouble, indeed.
They can just forget all about this big
deal they're making about circumcision. See, the Jews had been holding onto circumcision because it represented a covenant
relationship with God. It meant that they, as a Jew, had sealed this covenant and because of this, had received a pledge from
God. This pledge was a blessing, they thought, that guaranteed God's kindness and favor with them.
comes Paul who's telling them they've got it all wrong. Can you see where the Jews would have been very upset with
Paul? Paul is telling the Jews that they'd better be really careful because circumcision doesn't mean a thing unless
they are living their lives by the law of Moses.
If they aren't, then it doesn't matter if they're
circumcised or not. They're the same kind of lawbreakers that the pagans, otherwise known as gentiles, are.
Well, how dare Paul tell them that! Just who does Paul think he is, anyway?
Paul is about to tell them in verse
29: No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the
written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God.
So that's who Paul is -- God's
spokesperson. And Paul was not about the let the Jews forget it.
has never met the people in Rome as of this writing. So, as a stranger and as a missionary, what are some other common grounds
that he might have used as a strong point in his meeting of the minds with the Jewish believers in Rome?
mind that these probably were the same Jews who had been present at Pentecost and had witnessed the mighty visuals that God
brought to earth during those Pentecostal moments of wonder.
This is not the first time that Paul has argued against
circumcision for the Jewish believers. Why do you think that this seems to be Paul's first confrontation of Jewish beliefs?
We pray: Oh, Spirit of the Living God, I pray that you will fill my heart with your love and joy
so that I will be able to resist Satan and all the sin that he desires I fall into. I pray that you will keep me strong.
Help me to remember that you have your eyes on me when you look toward the earth, and I pray that you will lift my
eyes to the heavens to behold your kindness.
I thank you for all your blessings in Quint's and my life. I pray
that you will show us how best to use those blessings to grow your kingdom here on earth.
I pray for all the
men and women who serve in our armed forces. Please keep them strong and safe until they are home again reunited with their
I pray for my sister, "Cookie," who is in the final days and weeks of her life here on earth
from the cancer that has invaded her body. I pray that she will continue to embrace her excitement of coming home to you and
also being reunited with our mother and brothers and father. I pray that you will remove the fear of her journey from this
earth from her.
I pray for peace for her daughters and her grandchildren. I especially pray for safe travels for
her daughter Karen who is making the long journey from Kuwait to be with her mother.
I pray for strength for her
daughter Robin who has been lovingly ministering to Cookie's needs for months and months.
I pray for all who
are experiencing marital strife. Please fill the hearts of these couples with love so that they can be reunited within the
framework of a Christian marriage and bring them to your house where they can worship and praise you as they ought to.
I ask all these things in the name of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
Some elections yesterday -- the Potomac
primaries as they're called.
It changes things because, for the first time, Obama is leading in the delegate
count. He now has 1,223 delegates while Hillary has 1,198. The Democrats have decided that they need 2,025 delegates to cinch
the nomination as their party's nominee.
The Republicans, on the other hand, need 1,191 delegates to get the
nomination. McCain now has 821 delegates while Huckabee has 241. But hiding in the background are delegates who are still
committed to Romney. Like, over 200 delegates. Keep in mind that he only "suspended" his presidential run. He didn't
really say he was quitting the race. And he hasn't released his delegates to go to a candidate whom he would endorse.
So what does this all mean? Well, unless they've changed the rules again, the delegates are obligated to vote
for the candidate they were elected to support. That is, on the first ballot. If the conventions open and the first ballot
still doesn't give a candidate a clear nomination, then the delegates are released from this obligation and can get into
some real "horse trading."
That's happened in the past. But I don't think there has been the
need for multiple ballots for decades. Might happen this year at the Democratic convention though.
so it goes.
The real news here is that it's too darn cold! It's only 14 degrees but hopefully it will go
on up to at least the freezing mark later today. I'm looking forward to tomorrow when it promises to get up to 47 degrees.
My little daffodils seem to be doing okay. Still. Springs a comin'!
BIBLE STUDY: Romans
Martin Luther considered Paul's letter to the Romans as the purest nugget of Christian
faith. Luther felt so strongly about this that he thought everybody ought to memorize the letter. (Concordia Study Bible,
Though there are, no doubt, differing opinions as to where Paul was actually sitting when he wrote this
letter, most scholarly thinkers hold to the notion that Paul was in Corinth, or possibly Cenchrea which is a port city about
six miles from Corinth (Romans 16:1).
He had gone to Corinth to collect the monies that were being held for the
poor folks in and around Jerusalem. While Paul really really wanted to go to Rome to meet with the new churches there, he
also knew that he was challenged by the need to go to Jerusalem first.
But the churches in Rome had needs too and
Paul wanted to minister to those needs of faith. The year 57 A.D. seems likely for this letter. There were churches in Rome;
had been there since that whole exciting event at Pentecost when they were present and received the outpouring of the Holy
Spirit. These Romans then brought the message of salvation back to Rome and established churches there, meeting safely in
Except for moments of history, I'm not sure that it's all that important to know
what month, what address, and who would be journeying to Rome with this letter. By that I mean that the power and beauty of
the message itself is far more important to me than the minute details of Paul's itinerary.
just my point of view. Others will hold a different view that would propel them to discovering the names of Paul's hosts
if they could, and that's fine too.
Paul introduces himself in the very first sentence of this letter. He very
quickly reiterates the fact that Jesus Christ is the very personage of God who was promised to mankind through he prophets
And Paul reiterates to the Romans (in verses 5-6) that he comes ...through him and for his name's
sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.
And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
In verse 7, Paul addresses this letter
to all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints.
Paul uses the word "saints" throughout
his writings to mean Christians. Christians are saints because they have been named as righteous or holy by God, and they
become even more so because of their welcoming the Holy Spirit into their hearts.
Paul wants the Romans
to know that their faith is well known throughout the world and that he was praying for them every day. Paul also lets them
know that if there's any way -- any possible way at all -- he would truly relish the idea of coming to Rome to worship
with them and minister to them. In verse 11, Paul says that he hopes to bring them "some spiritual gift" to make
In verses 16-17, we find the golden nugget of the New Testament that becomes a repeating theme in
all of Paul's writings: I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone
who believes: first for the Jews, then for the Gentiles. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness
that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
in mind that Paul uses the word "righteous" to mean having a right relationship with God.
In the very
next verse, Paul says that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven to all the godless people and these godless people deny
themselves the truth about God. That truth about God is very plain -- it's not hard to figure out at all -- because God
makes it very plain.
Since the very creation of the earth, God has made his truth known -- this truth is centered
around his eternal power and divine nature. There is no excuse for not knowing this, but rather, godless people deny
God's nature. For those godless people, there is God's wrath -- this is not a human anger but rather, a kind of disgust
for this rejection that leads God to turn the godless people out to pursue their sins.
These are the people who
Paul says in verse 25: They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than
the Creator -- who is forever praised. Amen."
It reminds me of something a professor once said to
a theology class I was in: "You worship the god at whose altar you bow."
If that "altar" is
bags and bags of riches, then you have made that wealth your idol.
If you are a workaholic, then you have made
your job your idol.
And just in case the Romans didn't quite get the full idea of what he was talking about,
Paul describes the ungodless in this way: They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity.
They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice, they are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent,
arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless,
Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they
not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
If you embrace God in all his glory and live your life to be near him and feel his presence everywhere you go, then
you know what Paul means by "righteous." On the other hand, if you feel a distance from God, like you aren't
really all that connected, then you know that in your heart too. So how would you resolve that feeling of not being righteous?
Of these faith practices, which are the ones you exercise strongly and which are the ones you need to work on?
Weekly worship and praise with other believers
Daily reading of God's word
every one of us, because of our humanness, needs to exhibit great care that we do not make anything or anyone an idol. God
is first -- everything else comes after that.
Re-read the final verses of this first chapter and compare it to
what Christ said in John 10:27-30 -- My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal
life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater
than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one.
How does this message
from Christ compare to Paul's comment in verse 24: Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts
to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
Satan lurks around here on earth. We
must remain steadfast and vigilant to resist all temptations that Satan puts before us. We must choose God and know that the
truth of God is that he is far more powerful than Satan.
We pray: Dear heavenly Father, I pray
that your truth will rest upon me so that I can follow you alone.
I pray that you will give me the strength to
deny Satan any entry whatsoever in my heart.
I pray that you will strengthen all our children and their spouses
and also our grandchildren. Please keep them all safe in your tender care so that they continue to welcome your truth.
I pray that you will keep Quint in the safety of the palm of your hand, and for myself as well, as we go through our
I thank you for sending your son, Jesus Christ, to redeem me from all my sins. As I go through
this preparation time of Lent, help me be mindful of this tremendous sacrifice that you have made for me and for all mankind,
so that our sins will be washed away in the precious blood of Christ.
I pray that you will keep me close to you
so that you will not have to come looking for me. Keep me near you. And I thank you so much for caring where I am and what
I am doing. Amen.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
I have been trying to get on the internet
for a couple of hours since I returned from the dentist. It happens when the temperature gets really cold and there's
ice and snow on the cable line (that hangs from utility poles).
I saw the cable guy out there climbing up the pole
about an hour ago so there must be troubles in paradise.
I think I'm going to wait for the great February thaw
and perhaps things will be better tomorrow.
But I will tell you that the next Bible Study will focus on the Letter
to the Romans. Traditionally, this is the letter that was written after Paul wrote his letters to the Corinthians. In fact,
rumor has it that Paul wrote to the church in Rome while he was actually in Corinth. But it might be, that he wrote the letter
from Ephesus or Macedonia. At any rate, the letter was written about 57 or 58 A.D.
Now, I realize that scholarly
purists like to substantiate historical claims using Biblical references. But I'm comfortable going outside to historical
material as well. To that end, St. Jerome says that Paul arrived in Rome in 56 A.D. St. Jerome says that Paul went to Rome
in the second year of Nero. And since Nero succeeded Claudius as Emporer, that date is the preferred one.
So I'm going to get off the Internet for now and hope that this post will go all the way through to the world
Monday, February 11, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
Good grief, where does the time go?
All I wanted to do was see if there were any Gregorian chants on You Tube.
There are some absolutely delicious
Here's the one that's playing now:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=5PYsDMRj-qg&feature=related -- it follows the life of Christ all the way to the resurrection. Beautiful graphics, well, except for the front yard
nativity set that has lights all over it. Could have done without that since there were good desert scenes and Bethlehem scenes
with the baby Jesus and Mary and Joseph. Didn't need an Elm Street nativity set. But that's just my opinion. The rest
of the video makes up for it -- especially the scene when Christ leaves the tomb after he'd been buried.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=_MbDqc3x97k&feature=related -- these are benedictions by chanters -- against a backdrop of some fantastic pastoral photos
http://youtube.com/watch?v=NeNcdmbmk-w&feature=related -- these look like monks getting ready to go into a Chapter House for their daily Bible Study
And would you
believe that a couple of my favorite Simon & Garfunkel songs kind of lend themselves to chanting, although they're
sung, not chanted. But it's definitely reminiscent of a Gregorian chant.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=dySZpw4JJC4&feature=related -- The Sound of Silence
http://youtube.com/watch?v=FVLQNIZnuLY&feature=related -- Bridge Over Troubled Water -- beautiful orchestral too
Now I understand the famous quote by Mr/Ms
Anonymous: Music can break your heart and heal it at the same time.
Anyone who has ever felt deep deep
emotional pain knows exactly what that means. If not, the poet Khalil Gibran explained it this way: Pain carves ruts in
your soul so that you can fill them with joy.
It is overcast here with a temperature all the way up to 19
degrees now. We're expecting snow this afternoon. Maybe a dusting of 1 - 3 inches, and some more snow later on this evening.
Perhaps another 3 inches. The prediction is 6 -10 inches of snow for folks living north of I-70. See, there is a thermal thing
going on where interstates are concerned. I personally believe that these thermals set up a kind of weather pattern of their
The temperatures in International Falls, Minnesota (the nation's "ice box") was -15 degrees
on Sunday, with a wind chill sinking it down to -40 degrees. There, doesn't that make you feel warmer?
spring will be here soon. My daffodils are growing through their dirt blanket. Hardy little darlings, aren't they? These
are the special daffodils that are pink, not yellow. They came up last year but since they were just getting their little
feet in the ground, they didn't really fill in the space all that much. I'm expecting a bigger beautiful show this
Enjoy the music. It will soothe your soul.
Did you know that there are two
defining forces that have ever been offered to die for you:
1 Jesus Christ
2. The American soldier
And here's another thought: since George Bush is getting blamed for everything from global warming to stock market cooling,
I propose that the San Andreas Fault be renamed to the George Bush Fault.
And here's what Ronald Reagan had
to say: Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But the Marines don't
have that problem. -- and I would add to that all our men and women in every branch of the service.
COP STOP -- from Alice Stubbe
A Mississippi trooper pulled a car over on Highway
82 about 2 miles east of the Mississippi/Alabama state line. When the trooper asked the driver why he was speeding, the driver
said he was a magician and juggler and was on his way to Columbus to do a show at the Shrine Circue and didn't want to
The trooper told the driver he was fascinated by juggling and asked if he -- the driver -- would do a
little juggling for him then the wouldn't get a ticket.
The driver told the trooper he had sent his equipment
ahead and didn't have anything to juggle. The trooper said he had some flares in the trunk and asked if the magician could
The juggler said he could, so the trooper got 3 flares, lit them, and handed them to the juggler.
While the man was juggling, a car pulled in behind the patrol car, a drunken Mississippi good old boy got out, watched
the performance, then went over to the patrol car, opened the rear door and got in.
The trooper saw him and went
over to the patrol car, opened the door and asked the drunk what he thought he was doing.
The drunk said, "You
might as well take me to jail -- there's no way in the world I can pass that test!"
BIBLE STUDY: 2 Corinthians 13:1-14
We close this second letter to the Corinthians with this
I do want to add a note, though, from Chapter 12. And that is, there are some theologians who believe
that the person Paul is referring to who went up to the third heaven is himself. Paul says that this man heard "inexpressible
things, things that man is not permitted to tell." Then Paul says, "I will boast about a man like that,
but I will not boast about myself." (my emphasis)
My question is, "Who would know besides Paul
and God?" Some pastors have told me that Paul is definitely talking about himself; others have said absolutely not.
Here's what I think: Men write their opinions -- Paul writes the truth. Paul's truth was from God through
the Holy Spirit. And for whatever reason, if God did not want Paul to tell people that he had gone up to the third heaven
and come down to earth again, then Paul should not tell.
And just as a reminder of this covenant with God,
there was this aching, painful source of a physical nature that was always there reminding Paul that his was a secret between
him and God. It was almost like God was whispering to Paul, "Don't tell. This is a secret between us that you
must carry to your grave. It would serve no purpose to let anyone know. It's our secret."
it be that this was Paul fourteen years before when he went out into the desert to spend time with God shortly after his conversion?
What do you think? I'd truly like to know if you care to e-mail me.
But I get sidetracked.
Back to Chapter 13. Paul remains steadfast in his displeasure about these false apostles who have infested the faith of
the churches at Corinth. God, through Paul, just will not tolerate this and Paul wants the Corinthians to know that when he
comes to visit them for the third time, he is most hopeful that he will not have to deal harshly with them.
my goodness, Paul, for sure, would much rather fellowship with them in the full bloom of God's love and truth.
But if he needs to, Paul is prepared to deal harshly with those who have sinned. And what is the sin that Paul is referring
Well, the 8th Commandment specifically says that bearing false witness, or lying, is one of the ten commandments
that God brought down to Moses when the stone tablets were inscribed for all eternity.
In verses 2-3, we read:
I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not
spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He
is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you.
My Concordia Study Bible says this on p.1789:
Rebellion against Paul is rebellion against Christ, who appointed him as his apostle. The authority of the apostle is
the authority of his Master. Any who imagine that Paul is weak will find that Christ, the Lord who speaks through his apostle,
is not weak but powerful.
Now Paul tells the Corinthians that instead of challenging whether Paul is speaking
with apostolic authority, they should look into their own hearts to see if Christ is living within them. Read verse 5: Examine
yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you -- unless,
of course, you fail the test?
Paul then challenges them with verse 6: I trust that you will discover that
we have not failed the test.
And after these self-examinations are completed, Paul is hopeful that the Corinthians
will come back to their faith in God and in Christ and in the Holy Spirit. And that faith will bring them to the full acceptance
that Paul is the voice that God is using to build up the churches in Corinth. If they can accept that, then no proof of Paul's
apostolic authority is needed. But if they do not believe, then what could Paul possibly do to prove it to them?
Well, I for one, would not want an earthquake to fall on my head if I kept challenging Paul's authority to speak God's
thoughts to the Corinthians. After all, Paul had plenty of "proof" to give them and if they didn't believe after
hearing Paul's story about his own conversion, what else could there be that would convince them?
So in verse
10, Paul offers this reminder of why his letter carries such a harsh tone: This is why I write these things when I am
absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority -- the authority the Lord gave me for building
you up, not for tearing you down.
And finally, Paul closes this letter with an all too familiar Trinitarian
benediction that has become a part of worship services throughout the world, since this time of Paul's ministry: May
the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (verse
Do you think that Paul could have done a miracle or two to prove
to the Corinthians that his power was from God?
And if he did perform miracles, don't you think the false apostles
would have twisted that around to say that even Satan can perform miracles?
We know from the book, The Acts
of the Apostles, that Paul did perform miracles.
In Acts 13:6-11, the reference is that Paul blinds Elymas
(Barjesus), the false prophet.
Acts 14:3 refers to Paul and Barnabas performing signs and wonders in Lystra.
In Acts 14:8-10, Paul heals a lame man while in Lystra.
In Acts 19:11-12, Paul performed many miracles,
healing and casting out demons with the use of handkerchiefs and aprons.
In Acts 20-9-12 Paul raises Eutychus from
In Acts 28-1-6 Paul is unharmed by a snakebite on Melita.
In Acts 28:8-9, Paul heals many
diseases while on the island of Melita.
In Romans 15:15-19, Paul declares his ministry established by his "mighty
signs and wonders."
And in 2 Corinthians 12:12, Paul declares his miracles, signs and wonders form a part
of his apostolic credentials.
Paul's reminder to the Corinthians is that Christ lives in their hearts. They
are to reach deep inside themselves -- way down deep -- so deep that they can touch the presence of Christ alive within them.
That is the faith that will bring them to believe that Christ speaks through Paul and it is that faith that also brings
them to the belief that Paul has the apostolic authority to speak for God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Do you feel Christ alive in your heart?
Do you feel Christ listening to you when you pray?
not, what do you think you could do to bring your faith back to the strength it needs to be?
Here's a clue:
Ask the Holy Spirit to join with you to strengthen your faith. Help is always on the way when you pray for assistance from
the Holy Spirit.
Lord, I bring to you powerful requests for prayer for Dawn
who wants so much to heal the strife in her marriage. I pray that you will bring strength to her and her husband so that their
union will be blessed with joy once again and that they will enjoy a Christian marriage at your altar of grace.
Lord I pray that you will send your son, the Divine Healer, to Laura who caps her fifth year from cancer this month.
I pray that tests and scans today will show her body returning to health and healing. I pray that you will continue to keep
Laura strong so that she can also believe in herself.
I pray for all our readers who join us every hour of every
day in faraway places around the world. Bless them as they look to you for strength and guidance in their search of your Word
and in their hours of need.
I pray that you will hear the prayers of each one as they bring their prayers to your
I pray for Freida and Guy who are trying to shake off a flu bug. I pray that you will bring
them to full health. And I pray for the richest blessings for their new grandson and -- Jackson, I believe his name is --
and for Jackson's mother and father who have this tender young baby to care for. I pray that you will watch over them
And I thank you for all the blessings you have given to Quint and me. Help us use the gifts of your love to
reach others in caring ways. And I pray that you would continue to bless us and extend our reach so that others can come to
you through these daily messages.
I especially pray for our children and grandchildren who are miles and miles
from us. Keep them in your care, dear Lord. Amen.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
The stimulus money is coming! May be in
your hands by May (of this year, mind you.)
It started out as a presidential request for $145 billion. Passed the
House with a 380-34 vote.
Then it went over to the Senate. By the time the senators put their nickels and dimes
into the package, it had grown to $168 billion. There, it passed with a vote of 81-16.
So let's see, 81 + 16
= 97. There are 100 senators. Who was missing? Do you suppose it could possibly be the senators who are running for president
Another good reason to bring back the law that congress repealed some while ago that they had to forfeit
a day's pay for every day they weren't present when congress was in session. Used to not be a whole big wheelbarrow
full of money, but since they're making $162,500, that money could be used to reduce the debt or feed hungry children,
or if they got really desperate and couldn't figure out a good program, just send it to me. I would willingly become a
one-woman war on excess inventory reduction.
I'd share. I have lots of girlfriends who could go shopping with
me. And then we could go to spas and relax, laughing and giggling a lot.
I wonder just how long it would take
me to spend $162,500. If I didn't buy a new car, it might last some little while. Especially since I have three of just
about everything in this house.
See, we used to have stuff in the condo, and stuff down here after we bought this
house a year or so ago, and stuff in the office. Quint announced the other day that we just ran out of paper towels. And I
may not have to buy cleaning supplies at all before I die, which will be when I'm 135 years old. Quint and I made a deal
that we'd stick around for each other that long. We'll be married 100 years old by then. Probably squeak a lot when
Uh oh -- I read that Polaroid is closing is plant here in the U.S. where they make that lightning fast
film. They're not going to be making the film anywhere in the solar system by the end of the year.
really care. Our daughter Sharon and her husband Ron and grandkids Jerry and Heather got us a digital camera for Mothers Day/Fathers
Day a couple of years ago so we retired our Polaroid camera. Now we can't even give the Polaroid away. That wouldn't
be very nice -- give a camera to someone that you couldn't get film for.
And before Al Gore goes and makes
anymore movies, I have to tell you that the sun is entering into a "quiet period." That will usher in a period of
-- you guessed it -- global cooling!!!
A full article was printed in Investors Business Daily: http://ibdeditorial.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=287279412587175
Real scientists have been studying a phenomena called the Maunder Minimum. This phenomena says the earth cools
down and warms up in fairly repeating cycles. Now we're headed for a cold cycle that might resemble the one started about
1650 and lasted until 1715.
It was not the best of times for folks to be landing at Plymouth Rock unless they
were packing snowblowers and lots of little portable heaters.
The claim is also made that solar activity
fluctuates in an 11-year cycle. I know all about that because this time frame is also correlated to a bumper crop of rattlesnakes.
And it's in my best interests to know about such things just in case I want to go out west again.
one year when Quint's niece graduated from college and we were in Colorado to witness her bungee jump. Quint's sister
Jeanine was videographing this momentous event and one of the grandkids tugged at her elbow to warn Jeanine that a rattlesnake
was by her foot. Jeanine just kicked the darn thing. She said it was just a baby but everybody knows that venom is compensatorily
more dangerous in baby poisonous snakes.
Well, I just stood there frozen in time. And it wasn't because of
global cooling either.
CHOCOLATE SINGS -- from Antoinette Oberheu
Ond day I had a date for lunch with friends. Mae, a little old "blue hair" about 80 years old, came along with
them -- all in all, a pleasant bunch. When the menus were presented, we ordered salads, sanwiches and soups, except for Mae
who said, "Ice cream, please. Two scoops. Chocolate."
I wasn't sure my ears heard right, and the
others were aghast. "Along with heated apple pie," Mae added, completely unabashed.
We tried to act quite
nonchalant, as if people did this all the time. But when our orders wre brought out, I didn't enjoy mine.
couldn't take my eyes off Mae as her pie-ala-mode went down. The other ladies showed dismay. They ate their lunches silently
The next time I went out to eat, I called and invited Mae. I lunched on white meat tuna. She ordered
a parfait. I smiled. She asked if she amused me. I answered, "Yes, you do, but also, you confuse me. How come you order
rich desserts, while I feel I must be sensible?
She laughed and said, with wanton mirth, "I'm tasting
all that's possible. I try to eat the food I need, and do the things I should.
"But life's so short,
my friend. I hate missing out on something good.
"This year I realized how old I was. (She grinned.) I haven't
been this old before. So, before I die, I've got to try those things that for years I had ignored.
haven't smelled all the flowers yet.
"There are too many books I haven't read.
more fudge sundaes to wolf down and kites to be flown overhead.
"There are many malls I haven't shopped.
I've not laughed at all the jokes.
"I've missed a lot of Broadway hits and potato chips and cokes.
"I want to wade again in water and feel the ocean spray on my face.
"I want to sit in a country
church once more and thank God for his grace.
"I want peanut butter every day spread on my morning toast.
"I want un-timed long distance calls to the folks I love the most.
"I haven't cried at all
the movies yet, or walked in the morning rain."
With that, I called the waitress over. "I've changed
my mind," I said. "I want what she's having, only add some more whipped cream."
This is my gift
to you: Live well, love much and laugh often. Be happy.
Be mindful that happiness isn't based on possessions,
power, or prestige.
But on relationships with people we love and respect.
Remember that while money
talks, chocolate sings!!
UNANSWERED QUESTIONS -- from Alice Stubbe
Why isn't the number 11 pronounced onety-one?
If 4 out of 5 suffer from diarrhea, does that mean that one
out of five enjoys it?
Why do croutons come in airtight packages? Aren't they just stale bread to begin with?
If people from Poland are called Poles, then why aren't people from Holland called Holes?
If a pig
loses its voice, it is disgruntled?
Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist, but a person who drives
a racecar isn't called a racist?
If it's true that we are here to help others, then what exactly are the
others here for?
If lawyers are disbarred, and clergymen defrocked, then doesn't it follow that electricians
can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed?
If Fed Ex and UPS were to merge, would they call it Fed UP?
Do Lipton Tea employees take coffee breaks?
What hair color do they put on the driver's licenses of bald men?
I thought about how mothers feed
their babies with tiny little spoons and forks, so I wondered what do Chinese mothers use. Toothpicks?
Why do they
put pictures of criminals up in the post office? What are we supposed to do, write to them? Why don't they just put their
pictures on the postage stamps so the mailmen can look for them while they deliver the mail?
Is it true that you
never really learn to swear until you learn to drive?
If a cow laughed, would milk come out of her nose?
Whatever happened to Preparations A through G?
As income tax time approaches, did you ever notice: when you put
the two words "The" and "IRS" together, it spells "Theirs?"
STUDY: 2 Corinthians 12:1-21
Paul shares a curious story with the Corinthians in verse 2: I know a
man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven...
There are other instances in the
New Testament where this passing through the heavens is mentioned.
For instance, in Hebrews 4:14, we read: Therefore,
since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith
This reference is to Christ's ascension for, like the high priests in the temple who, on
the Day of Atonement, go from the people's view in the temple to the Holy of Holies. Christ ascends into the heavens,
until his disciples could see him no more. But instead of going to a different room in the temple, Christ goes through
the heavens to be with his father once again. This signifies that Christ's job of atonement for all mankind is finished.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul also mentions Christ's ascension -- Ephesians 4:10 -- He who descended
is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.
explains that he does not know whether or not this man was in the body or out of it. He says in verse 2 that only God knows
what truly happened. And then, Paul says that he knows that this man "was caught up to paradise" (verse 4).
Paul says he heard things. But he couldn't talk about these things. He was not permitted to tell.
in verses 5-6, Paul explains further: I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself except about
my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain,
so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say.
For whatever reason that is known only
to God, Paul was graced with this information and sworn to secrecy. But he didn't become conceited about having been singled
out with this information. Oh no. Instead, he was given a "thorn in his side." We don't know what that was all
Paul calls this thorn or affliction a "messenger of Satan." He had reconciled himself
to having this affliction as a torment. And in verses 8-10 Paul gives us a further glimpse of how he experiences this torment:
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness."
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ's power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults,
in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul then confesses
to the Corinthians that he had made a fool of himself. Then he said, "But you made me do it."
was it exactly that the Corinthians made him do? They'd pretty much boxed Paul into a corner by challenging his apostleship
-- by wondering if he really did have authority from a divine source.
Paul comes out of this situation ready for
the argumentative challenge from the Corinthians. He'd already explained to them that he had endured many trials and tribulations,
even some experiences that could have killed him. But he still lived by the grace of God.
And in fact, he knew
full well that there was a man who was "caught up" to the heavens to be with God-- but not him. It wasn't Paul's
time just yet. In verses 11-12, Paul says that he's not the least bit inferior to these super-apostles in Corinth.
In fact, the mark of a real apostle includes signs, wonders and miracles. Paul reminds the folks at Corinth that he had
done these things in their midst -- and with great perseverance at that.
So if it was a contest between
Paul and the "super apostles," you can be sure that Paul intended for the false preachers to be on the losing
Paul tells the Corinthians that it's time for him to visit them a third time, but he assures them that
he will not be a burden to them. But in verse 16b-18, Paul comes back to a sarcastic note: Yet, crafty fellow that
I am, I caught you by trickery!
Did I exploit you through any of the men I sent you?
I urged Titus
to go to you and I sent our brothers with him. Titus did not exploit you, did he? Did we not act in the same spirit and
follow the same course?
This assertion of Paul's was in response to the lies that had been spread that
Paul was just exploiting the Corinthians -- that he was tricking them so that he could get his hands on the money that was
being collected for the poor folks in Jerusalem. The false apostles were actually accusing Paul of stealing the funds collected
in the churches for charity. You can bet that Paul won't stand for this!
In verses 20-21, Paul talks about
his misgivings about his next trip to Corinth: For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be,
and you may not find me as you want me to be.
I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts
of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.
I am afraid that when I come again my God
will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinner earlier and have not repented of the impurity,
sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.
Well, that ought to be fair warning to those in Corinth
who need to clean up their act and repent of their sins, and change their way of living, don't you think?
1. If you could make one change about yourself, what would it be? (either physically, emotionally, intellectually,
2. Have you ever speculated on what this thorn in Paul's side could be? How did it affect his
3. Why do you think that God doesn't take your hurts and afflictions away?
4. Do you lose
patience with God when he doesn't answer your prayers and give you what you want?
5. How has God worked through
you to accomplish what he wants to do?
We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, so many times I have asked
for things that I want that, in retrospect, wouldn't necessarily have been the best thing for me.
I pray that
you will give me patience as well as the ability to realize that I just don't need each and everything I ask for.
I pray that you will keep me from being short-tempered with others around me.
I pray that you will watch
over and protect our children and grandchildren.
I pray that you would put a hedge around those we love and keep
them from harm.
I especially pray that you will also put a hedge around each and every soldier serving in our nation's
military so that they will be protected from all harm.
I pray for all the churches around the world who gather
to worship you each week. I pray that your Holy Spirit will work miracles of rebirth throughout these churches and that more
unchurched people will find their way into the assembly of worshipers who come to praise you. Amen.
Friday, February 8, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
As if our buddies up north didn't have
it bad enough, now they've got arctic air coming down from Canada. It's heading their way just in time to ruin the
weekend play with the kiddos -- unless you're into ice fishing.
Our on-going pinochle marathon with Naomi and
Norman was a wonderful way to spend an evening -- as always. Naomi got a run during one hand; Norman got aces around. It seemed
that one time when Norman got aces around, Quint had three aces. Well, since there are only 8 aces in a single pinochle deck,
I can tell you how the game went. I think that was the game when Naomi and I got 30 points. In one hand, my high card was
a king. But at the end f the evening, we won some; we lost some. But having the company of good friends makes us all winners.
And oh yes. The bread finally ended up just the way I like it. Nice texture, no big air holes running through the
loaf. And it was a nice pale yellow color because I used three eggs, not one that the recipe called for. Makes for a more
nutritious loaf of bread. Made good turkey/ham sandwiches. So who cares? I do. Making bread has become one of my favorite
hobbies so I'm especially glad when it works out okay.
I think there were three variables that made the
First of all, I used one package of yeast for each two cups of flour.
Second, I used three
tablespoons of baking powder. That gave me a nice round crown on the loaf and on the sandwich buns.
I put the bread into a 450 degree oven to get the "bloom" from the baking powder. After ten minutes at 450, I turned
the oven back to 375 degrees and continued baking according to the recipe directions.
Now on to bigger things
-- like Romney suspending his campaign. I wasn't surprised, were you? It was a simple math exercise. There weren't
enough delegates left for him to cinch the nomination -- unless he got mostly all of the rest. That wasn't likely. So
why in the world would he spend $50 million of his own money, knowing you're not going to get the result you want? I mean,
he's rich, but not rich enough to just throw his money away. If that's the case, I'd like to send him my
address. Besides, his claim to fame is that he's a successful businessman. It seems to me that he would know all about
making a plan that would work.
Hmmm. Maybe he should be president. Given time, I might even be able to
reach a compromise about the religion subject. I mean, look at all the corruption and greed going on in Washington, D.C. now.
Frankly, it doesn't look like the Christians are being all that Godly. If they go back and re-read the list of the
7 Deadly Sins, they'll see greed and gluttony on the list.
But if you listened to McCain's speech at the
Conservative Political Action Committee meeting (CPAC) yesterday, you heard him vow never to sign a bill that had a single
earmark in it. I'm for that. It isn't that I'm opposed to a whole lot of the projects that these politicos have
slipped earmarks into others bills for passage. However, I firmly believe that projects should be included in appropriations
bills -- right out there in the open.
A great many of the projects could better be funded by the state budgets.
I mean, we're always talking about reducing the size of the federal government. This would be a good first step toward
reducing the federal bureaucracy. That way, for instance, a fine arts center in Indiana wouldn't be paid for by taxpayers
in New Mexico. Funding such projects closer to home would be a lot more efficient because it would take layers of bureaucracy
off the project -- and that would be a cost savings right there.
Not only that, but the closer a project gets
to scrutiny of taxpayers, the more transparency and accountability there is. And who knows -- maybe even more honest.
The federal government is the largest single employer in the United States. The time has come to start sending these
earmarked projects back to the congressional districts for funding.
BIBLE STUDY: 2 Corinthians
If anyone, including me, ever thought that mission work was a bed of roses, this chapter ought
to set that record straight.
Paul has, up to this point, tried many avenues of approach to get the Corinthians
back to their faith. Yet these false apostles seem to be haunting Paul. He is as protective of his new charges as a mother
hen would be with a new brood of chicks.
And if Paul, who is locked into his humanness, feared losing a single
Corinthian, can you image how God feels with the thought that even one of his own is threatened by Satan.
though John hadn't written his gospel message yet, we can get a glimpse of how God feels about this very subject, for
in John 10:28-30, God said through his son, Jesus Christ, as John penned: I give them eternal life, and they shall never
perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch
them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one.
Even though it would be forty some years before
John would put this gospel message to pen and paper, they were the words of Jesus Christ. God is a forgiving God and there
are no sins that are unforgivable, save one. And that is to turn your back and heart away from God. Everything else you do
in life is forgivable. Believe that and your place in heaven is reserved through the blood of Jesus Christ who died to forgive
you from each and every sin that you have ever committed.
Paul spoke to the Corinthians with divine authority.
He opens this chapter with a bit of a warning that he might appear foolish but he's going to compare himself
with these false teachers and in doing so, it just might look like he's bragging. This was something that Paul was ordinarily
very much opposed to, but he must have thought that it was okay in this instance because these were extraordinary times.
So after Paul explains why he's going to do this, he gets specific in verses 3-6: But I am afraid
that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure
devotion to Christ.
For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached,
or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up
with it easily enough.
But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those "super-apostles."
I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.
So there's the motive for this soliloquy in verse 3. Paul is afraid that Satan will make them turn their backs
on God just like he did with Eve thousands of years before.
Paul is only too aware that Satan is sly and crafty
for if he could turn Eve to sin, when she was created without sin in God's paradise along with Adam, what could Satan
do with sinners a few thousand years later?
Even though Paul's letter was penned four decades before John's
gospel was, the messages that both these men brought were from God who is timeless.
Paul calls these false apostles
"super apostles" in a sarcastic tone for just like Satan, they had really inflated their opinion of themselves.
Satan got kicked out of heaven for doing just that. And Paul wanted to make sure these trouble-making, super-apostles got
kicked out of the churches they had infested.
In verse 7, Paul asks the Corinthians if they thought it was wrong
of him to preach the gospel free of charge. This is a curious question and a note in my Concordia Study Bible, page 1786,
explains that the false apostles had accused Paul of not taking money because it just proved that his instructions
These first century teachers and philosophers had kind of banded together and decided that they
ought to charge for their instructional services. Paul, on the other hand, broke rank with them and offered himself as a teacher
to the Corinthians without making any demand for payment.
And on the contrary, his message was not worthless,
but rather, the gold standard for he came to the Corinthians with messages straight from God.
That's not to
say that Paul didn't get paid for pastoring in other churches. In fact, Paul reminds the Corinthians that, in a way, he
was robbing the other churches in Macedonia who were supporting him very generously and most willingly.
especially true of the church in Philippi, for we read in Philippians 4:15-16: Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the
early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter
of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was
Perhaps it was just a little reminder that even though Paul's instructions were free to the Corinthians,
other churchs in Philippi bore the cost of Paul's support while he made mission forays throughout the area.
Then Paul assures them in verse 12: ...I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those
who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about.
Paul exposes the false
apostles as servants of Satan. They're masquerading under a cloak of righteousness and, as Paul says in verse 15, in the
end they're going to get what they deserve.
Paul then makes a list of everything he has endured in his mission
journeys -- things that these false apostles wouldn't tolerate. And they are the ones -- these super-apostles or false
teachers -- who would enslave the Corinthians and exploit them. They'd be only too willing to take advantage of the people
at Corinth. Their exploitation ought to feel like a slap in the face! (verse 20)
So Paul has compared how he is
very different from these false apostles, now in verses 22. Paul is Hebrew. He is an Israelite. He's a descendant of Abraham.
But starting at verse 23, Paul makes additions to his list of hardships he has endured. These tribulations
include everything from being beaten -- both with lashes and with rods, even stoned, had been shipwrecked, had been lost at
sea. He had to be constantly on the move and was in danger from bandits, was in danger from his own countrymen and from Gentiles
alike. He's gone without sleep, was cold, naked and hungry.
And as if all that weren't enough, he had enormous
concerns for the well-being of the churches.
Then he calls upon God as his witness in verse 31: The God
and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. In Damascus the governor under King
Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall
and slipped through his hands.
So we have two more chapters in this letter to the Corinthians. Paul has tried
the gentle approach. He has used irony in trying to coax them away from the false teachers. And in this chapter, Paul lays
it flat out when he calls these guys "super apostles." And they're lying too. And if you don't believe me,
then believe God. Look at all the things I have endured and I'm still kept safe from harm because I go with God and God
goes with me.
I hope you're as curious as I am about what Paul is going to say to the Corinthians next, as
he closes out this letter.
Does he get sterner or gentler. Will he cast them to the four winds and let Satan have
his way with them?
What will Paul do and say?
1. If you were
confronted with all that Paul comes up against with the Corinthians, how would you handle the situation?
you ever had people who interfered with your ability to worship God? If so, what did you do?
3. If you are
just beginning your journey with Paul on his missionary trips, are you suprised that he has endured such hardships and even
4. Do you make it a special point to include all of the missionaries around the world
who are working to bring God's message to unchurched people and people who are unbelievers?
Oh Lord, our Heavenly Father, I pray that you would bless all those who work in your mission fields. I pray that you would
keep them safe from harm and lessen the hardships they endure.
I pray, Oh Lord, that you would bless this
study of your Word so that I can grow closer to you.
I pray for all the people in Christian churches around
the world who risk their lives to come to you in worship. Please be with them and build a hedge around them so that they will
I pray for all our military personnel wherever they are stationed. Keep them safe and strong.
And I pray that you would bless these United States with good Christian leadership that is free of corruption and greed
and replace those who defile your name. Amen
Thursday, February 7, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
Last spring we said we were glad we
didn't live up north because I could start planting tomatoes, petunias, impatiens, etc. about three weeks earlier. And
my daffodils were up and blooming by the time their northern cousins had even peeked through the dirt blankets.
morning I am glad again because I don't even see snow when I look out the window as I type this blog. Up north, my friends
are enduring -- and I say enduring because people up north are the tougher variety than us chicken escapees -- a 20"
snowfall. Those poor hearty souls in Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin, and suburbs on the north side of Chicago. Why I even
heard that O'Hare cancelled 1,000 flights.
I can only imagine the horror stories that travelers are going
to take back home with them. Forget hotel rooms. They sold out early. Cancelled flights now mean camping out on the cold terrazzo
floors with only your purse for a pillow and whatever kind of coat you brought as your blanket. That's where travelers
would spend the night after all the cots at O'Hare are loaned out to weary bleary-eyed travelers.
To make matters
worse, some of the suburbs have now run out of salt. Probably didn't order all that much because there's been so much
left over in the last couple of years.
There's black ice on I-90 and I-55, the two expressways that cut through
the north side of the city, and near south side. I'm especially praying that my cousin, Mark Stubbe, will drive safely.
He's a sergeant for the Chicago Police Department. But then, he's an expert driver and he knows how to get around
in that stuff.
I have a theory about the interstate highway systems creating their own weather patterns. Quint
promised me that he'd research that someday. Since he has emeritus status with AAAS and gets Science magazine,
he can get into his secret little programs that I don't have passwords to.
It's not that he wouldn't
give me his passwords, it's just that my search engines head toward food sites. I'm always looking for a good recipe
for something or other. And I especially love the sites that let me print the recipes out in a 3x5 format for the card file.
But we have our own separate laptops so I could look stuff up too instead of whining about it. I know full well
how to do research. After all, that's what paralegals do best. But it's been years and years and years since I had
my paralegal training. That was back in the times when our computers were hooked up to stone tablets for printing out our
I am still playing with my bread recipe. I want a yeast bread that will poof up and get that nice
round crown on top. The depression bread recipe has a great flavor -- man, is it delicious. But it has a flat top.
So I'm thinking that when I make bread today, I'll put some baking powder in with the dry ingredients, Maybe a tablespoon
for each 2 cups of flour. That should give me what's called "the bloom." I'll stick it in the oven at 450
for ten minutes until it "blooms" then lower the temperature to 375 and finish the baking.
I will have a nice crown on the bread and it won't look like somebody stepped on the loaf of bread just as it was coming
out of the oven. But then, if I get too much "bloom" there will be big puffy air holes in the bread. That wouldn't
make good sandwiches either.
Oh well. It's a work in progress.
2 Corinthians 10:1-18
There are a couple of early points I see in the early verses of this chapter.
The first point is that of the 8th Commandment -- Thou shalt not bear false witness ...
and gossiping are listed in God's Big Ten! Bearing false witness is lying. And we know from the previous chapters of this
second letter to the Corinthians that Paul was extremely upset that there were corrupters in the midst of his congregations
These corrupters whispered lies about Paul. The liars said things like Paul lacked real authority as
a apostle. In essence, they were calling Paul a wimp. Oh sure, they said, you sure talk a tough game when you're way over
there in Macedonia, but when you come back here to Corinth, you'll change your tune. Then we'll see the real Paul
who's not such a big fighter after all. (My paraphrase.)
Do these lying, whispering apostles remind you of
someone else in the Garden of Eden who said to Adam and Eve, "Are you sure that's what God meant when he said ....?"
There he is again, stirring up trouble. This time, Satan is using the tongues of the false prophets trying to turn the hearts
of the Corinthians against Paul.
And this time, as in ages of old, Satan again comes up against the forces
of God, the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. You'd think he would have learned by this time, wouldn't you? But no. The
arrogance and pride that caused Satan's eviction from heaven in the first place was still swelling up his head. Satan
actually believed that he could turn the Corinthians against Paul and that Paul wouldn't find out until he came back to
Corinth from Macedonia.
But there were people who let Paul know what these false preachers were saying about him. Men
who were Paul's fellow workers in the kingdom of God travelled back and forth, taking letters to Paul and getting Paul's
responses back to the various churches.
So in the first few verses of this chapter, Paul responds: By
the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you -- I, Paul, who am "timid" when face to face with you, but
"bold" when away.
I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some
people who think that we live by the standards of this world.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war
as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.
On the contrary, they have divine
power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,
and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience,
once your obedience is complete. (verses 1-6)
Keep in mind that God puts us where he wants us to be.
Only God knows what kind of a corrective life experience he wants each of us to have to get an idea of how we do with the
free will he has given to us. God has prepared life challenges for us in advance -- go back and re-read Ephesians 2:10.
It's at the top of the home page.
The second point I want to make is that Paul was divinely selected by God
through Jesus Christ to be the torch bearer of Christianity.
There was no New Testament for Paul to quote. Well,
actually there was because he was writing it. But the Bible as we know it today wasn't in existence when Paul was building
up the kingdom of God.
And there were not the prophets like the men whom God has placed in ministry in the
Old Testament. Nearest we can come to that kind of prophet was John the Baptist, but Herod had him beheaded before Christ
was even crucified.
Now there is Paul. His apostleship is divinely empowered. He most certainly speaks with the
authority of God. Because of this, Paul is more than equal to the task of taking on the false apostles who are trying to corrupt
his churches in Corinth.
And Paul most certainly knows exactly what to say and at the precise moment that his message
needs to be said, because it isn't Paul's thoughts that he's making up. Rather, it is God speaking through Paul.
The messages Paul brings come with the perfection of God's voice.
Paul doesn't want to get into any intellectual
debate with these corrupters, though I have no doubt in my mind that Paul could run circles of wit around these guys.
No no no. Paul wants to bring the gentle truth of God's love to the Corinthians. Paul wants the truth of the gospel
message to continue to penetrate the hearts of all who believe. He says in verses 8-9: For even if I boast somewhat freely
about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than pulling you down, I will not be ashamed of it.
I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters.
And then Paul reminds them that the
false apostles ... should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we
are present. (verse 11)
Paul sums up this chapter in verses 15b-16a: Our hope is that, as your faith continues
to grow, our area of activity among you will greatly expand, so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you.
Some say that this is Paul's earliest "publication" of his intent to travel on to Spain, or Iberia
as it was known back then.
But first, he wants to be very sure that the churches in Corinth are on firm footing,
for what would be the gain if you start six churches here, then go on to another place and start more churches there, but
lose the first churches you started?
No. Paul did not want to lose a single group of believers. These churches
belonged to God. They were new believers in the kingdom of God. And false apostles couldn't have them.
we know in our hearts are sealed in our baptism, we belong to God and that the evil one cannot snatch us out
of God's hands.
1. What are some times in your life when you have
particularly deep anguish and you've wondered why it is that you seem to be singled out to suffer so?
you take these times and wrap the experiences around lessons that God wants you to learn from them?
3. What are
some other comparisons that you could draw between the false apostles in the churches in Corinth to the devil in the Garden
of Eden? How were they similar in the messages they tried to use?
4. When you are confronted with temptations,
do you see the work of Satan in your life or do you become angry with a human being whom you think seems to be the cause
5. How can you embrace the power of God to restore your life so that your are victorious over your
We pray: Dear heavenly Father: I pray that you will give me strength to resist the
temptations that Satan tries to trip me up with.
I thank you so much for protecting me from all the misguided lies
that Satan tries to use on me. I thank you for keeping me safe in the palm of your hand.
I pray for all the times
when I find myself teetering on the edge of falling into temptation. For all those times when you have sent your angels to
minister to me and catch me when I trip and stumble, I thank you.
I know that life is not perfect and I know that
I need to be on guard all the days of my life. I thank you for walking with me. Amen.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
A LERT ALERT!
For all you lerts out there -- this just in.
A tanker truck filled with chocolate has crashed on the inbound Chicago Skyway at about 7100 South. Yum yum. I think the chocolate
is okay, thank goodness. I mean -- Valentines Day is coming, you know! There may be some diesel fuel leaking but thank goodness
the chocolate is okay.
MY LIFE IN INK --
Our schedule for today is Ash Wednesday
services at church and since Quint and I are greeters, we need to be there about fifteen minutes early. You know Lutherans
-- we usually get to church in the last five minutes before services begin. So getting there fifteen minutes early gives us
time to park the car, get inside, hang up our coats and we're still in the building before anybody else, except Pastor
For those of you who live in the Effingham area -- or if you visit someone who lives in this lovely town
-- or if you're driving through on I-70/I-57, come on in. You have friends you haven't met yet at Faith Lutheran
in Shumway. The church is about 6.5 miles or so west of the interstate conglomeration. That's on Illinois Rte. 33
West. Right after you see the "Welcome to Shumway" sign, be ready to put your turn signals on because you're
going to need to turn left into the parking lot. Quint and I will be greeters all during February. After that, some equally
friendly people will take their turn.
So let's see -- oh yeah -- yesterday was Super Tuesday. And guess what?
Nobody got enough delegates to cinch the nomination for either party. It certainly wasn't a "shoo in" for Hillary
like The Inevitable One had originally hoped for.
And Romney didn't get his bid for the Oval Office either.
McCain, whose campaign obituary had already been written just a few short months ago, zoomed out to the front. Kind of reminds
me of a racehorse with 10 to 1 odds who discovers his legs while coming down the home stretch.
And Huckabee? Well,
of course he's saying he's in for the long haul, but then he also said that no one turns down the job of vice president.
Translation? That means that Huckabee stays in just long enough to make Romney bow out, then Huckabee will make a deal to
team up with McCain. Huckabee seems to be pulling enough votes from Romney to be a real spoiler.
Romney says he
has no intention of bowing out and he's got lots of his own money to spend. Romney's wife, on the other hand, is thinking
she might just take his blank check away from him.
Don't know if you know this or not, but McCain's wife
is a megabucks heiress too.
Chink chink chink
I didn't watch too much of the election returns.
I get really exasperated with the news channels calling elections with only a slim number of results in. That just takes the
intrigue out of it. So if Fox News calls an election with 12% of the votes counted, I don't need to watch the talking
heads for the next two hours count the other 88% of the votes.
I started researching the hierarchy of angels. That's
a lot more interesting. I'm going to do some articles about angels as I get good info. I find the whole topic of angels
fascinating. One theory has it that we are given our very own guardian angel at birth and that angel travels through our lives
with us. Another thought I've read says we can have as many guardian angels as we need. I'm looking for the Bible
truth for either one or both of those thoughts. All I know is that I've literally dodged death more than a couple of times
in my life so my guardian angel has been very faithful and efficient because I'm still here.
the deal: when we get back from church, I will start working on today's Bible Study. Plus, I've gotten some really
cute articles and some funny pieces that some of you have sent to me that I also want to include.
OLD AGE, I DECIDED, IS A GIFT -- from Joyce Cunningham
I am now,
probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometimes despair over my
body, the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror
(who looks like my mother!), but I don't agonize over those things for long.
I would never trade my amazing
friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become more
kind to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend.
I don't chide myself for eating
that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante
garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.
I have seen too many dear friends
leave this world too soon; before they understood teh great freedom that comes with aging.
Whose business is it
if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 a.m. and sleep until noon?
I will dance with myself to those
wonderful tunes of the 60s and 70s, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love -- I will.
walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose
to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.
I know I am sometimes forgetful. But
there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.
the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even
when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion.
A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
I am so blessed to
have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on
my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.
As you get older,
it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even
earned the right to be wrong.
So, to answer your question. I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person
I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have
been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it.)
May our friendship
never come apart especially when it's straight from th eheart! May you always have a rainbow of smiles on your face and
in your heart forever and ever!
GOD LIVES UNDER THE BED --
from Kathy Brandenburg
I envy Kevin. My brother Kevin thinks God lives under his bed. At least that's
what I heard him say one night.
He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom and I stopped to listen, "Are
you there, God?" he asked. "Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed."
I giggled softly and tiptoed
off to my own room. Kevin's unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered
long after the humor. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in.
He was born 30 years
ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he's 6'2"), there are few
ways in which he is an adult.
He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always
will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under
our tree every Christmas and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them.
I remember wondering
if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life?
Up before dawn each day, off
to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for
dinner, and later to bed.
The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers excitedly over the
washing machine like a mother with her newborn child.
He does not seem dissatisfied.
He lopes out to
the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work.
He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils
on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day's laundry chores.
And Saturdays -- oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That's the day my Dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink,
watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on teh destination of each passenger inside. "That one's going to Chi-car-go!"
Kevin shouts as he claps his hands.
His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights.
And so goes his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips.
He doesn't know what it means to be discontent.
His life is simple.
He will never know the entanglements of wealth or power, and he does not care what
brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day
they may not be.
His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher
or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it.
He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does
not leave a job until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax.
He is not obsessed
with his work or the work of others. His heart is pure.
He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must
be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue.
Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances,
Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere. And he trusts God.
Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God -- to
really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an "educated" person to grasp. God seems like his closest
In my moiments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity, I envy the security Kevin has in his
It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my
It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap -- I am. My obligations,
my fear, my pride, my circumstnces-- they all become disabilities when I do not trust them to God's care.
knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying
after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of God.
And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and
we ae all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who
believed that God lived under his bed.
Kevin won't be surprised at all!
people who lift us up when our hearts have trouble remember how much God loves us, and how much he has planned for us! Let
your heart soar on the wings of his love!
BIBLE STUDY: 2 Corinthians 9:1-15
In this chapter, Paul is still reminding the Corinthians that the donations that they had pledged the year before were now
"due." In fact, Paul says he's sending the brothers to them to collect these gifts.
Recall that these
donations were being raised to take to the poor folks at Jerusalem.
But from the beginning of this chapter, Paul
tells the Corinthians that he had been bragging about them and their generosities to the folks at Macedonia. And how enthusiastic
the Corinthians were about giving their gifts for the poor.
Then it almost seems like maybe Paul wished he hadn't
bragged quite so much. In verse 3, he says: But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this
matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be.
the Corinthians were supposed to be putting this extra money aside every week for the time when someone came to collect it.
So, were the Corinthians ready with the money? Had they been saving it in a separate escrow fund like they were supposed
to be doing?
Paul sure hoped so. He explains in verse 4: For if any Macedonians come with me and find you
unprepared we -- not to say anything about you -- would be ashamed of having been so confident. So what's Paul saying:
Don't embarrass me?
That's why, Paul says, he's sending the brothers ahead of him. The brothers were
supposed to urge the Corinthians go make arrangements for their very generous gift. And Paul wanted them to do this willingly,
not with an attitude like it would be a bad reflection on them if they didn't follow through on their pledge.
Paul then tells them that they get what they give. That is, if they give sparingly, they will get sparingly. And whoever
sows generously will reap generously (verse 6).
So give what you can, but give generously, as you are able, Paul
After all, God loves a cheerful giver. How many times have you ever heard that?
the point: if there ever was any doubt that the Holy Spirit was speaking through Paul, those ideas can be put aside because
we hear God giving this message in verses 8-9: And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things
at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
As it is written: "He
has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever."
But not only that, check
out these passags in verses 10-11: Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase
your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
You will be made rich in every way so that
you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
Paul tells the Corinthians that because of their thanksgiving through their giving so generously, other men will praise God.
In the final two verses of this chapter, Paul gives this last encouragement: ... their hearts will go
out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.
Money pledges are difficult subjects for pastors to approach. In fact, I don't
know a single pastor who really likes to give sermons about offerings. But the money isn't for God -- God doesn't
need a building. But people need a building so that they can come to worship and praise God. And buildings need
to have a roof in good repair. People need something to sit on.
And how can we have all those wonderful fellowship
meals if we don't have a kitchen, complete with coffeepots? These are not luxuries -- they are items that people use when
they gather in assembly to praise and worship God and give thanks to him for all his blessings, and fellowship with each other.
We are human creatures and we like to have chairs to sit on and pews to sit in. As humans, we like many things
that cost money. But if we didn't bring our own thankofferings to God's altar on the weekends, how would other people
ever find us if we didn't have a church building?
Why does Paul say that he wants the Corinthians to willingly
make their pledged donations good?
What is Paul going to do with the money that he gathers from the churches?
In what way is your offering a testament of your faith in God?
We pray: Dear Heavenly
Father, I thank you for all your blessings and for the way that you always care for me and make sure that we have everything I
need, when I need it.
You are a gracious God. I pray that I will always remember your gifts to me when I write
out that check on Sunday morning. There are so many places in the world where my gifts are needed. Help me be a cheerful giver.
Maybe I can give up that lunch this week. Maybe I can be more frugal with my grocery shopping so that I can share
with those people who have little or nothing.
Oh Lord, I ask that you would help me change my "maybes"
to "I cans." Amen.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
Okay, so I'm a wow person. It's
kind of like underscoring something for emphasis. So when I saw the stock market had plummeted some $231 this morning, I said,
"Wow, what's going on now?"
Could it be that it's Super Tuesday and McCain has already called
Could it be that Hillary is crying again?
Could it be that Huckabee is still "whining"
as Romney puts it?
Could it be that Obama's peeps out in California are jumping up and down with glee and caused
"that big one" and California really did fall off into the ocean?
Or did one of the networks call the
election so we don't even need to bother going to the polls?
Nope. It was none of these things. My trusty husband
Quint says that the manufacturing report is down. Stock market does not like news like that! Wow!
Never fear, something
else will happen during the week that will bring a happier report and the traders will go north again. America has a $13 trillion
economy -- what's the significance of $231?
So I'll bet you can tell I'm not a finance major,
I made sammies the other night. They're those neat "new" sandwiches that Quiznos
is advertising. I made chicken teriyaki sammies because I had the pecan crusted chicken that I had fried a month or so ago
(love my deep freeze). Two minutes in the microwave and it was ready to cut off the bone. And a mixture of teriyaki sauce,
soy sauce, (2 cups total), some liquid smoke (no kitchen/food lab should be without it), a couple of sprinkles of hot sauce
and corn starch. When I'm making a little sauce like this, I use a teaspoon of cornstarch to every cup of liquid. If you
want a thicker sauce, use just a tad more cornstarch, but don't do too much more or you will end up with a paste. I kid
you not. Try to stir your chicken around in that!
Okay, so now you've got mechanically separated chicken pieces
(your knife is a hand-held machine). Cut the chicken into little bite size pieces and stir them around in your yummy teriyaki
Then, the absolutely easiest way to get the sammies is to get some pizza dough in the refrigerator case
if you don't want to take the time to make a yeast dough from scratch. Roll out the dough and cut it into squares. The
size of the square will depend on several things -- 1.) how many people you are feeding and 2.) how many rolls of dough you
I think I ended up with something like an 8" square and it was too big. Next time I'm going to
make a 6" square. Of course, the sammies are circles but I don't have a cookie cutter that's 6" in diameter
and I am not going to cut circles out with a knife around a little plate. So my sammies looked like triangles after I folded
the square over itself.
Okay, so now you've got the dough out of that rollup container. And you've put
it out on a floured surface. It will probably be easier to cut the tube of dough in half because you're going to roll
out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4" or so. Then cut it into squares. Put the squares on a cookie sheet that's
been sprayed with one of those oil sprays. Then spoon your sandwich filling mixture onto the squares. Don't put much sauce
on the dough. It can be used as a dipping sauce at the table but you don't want to make your sammie dough soggy while
it's baking. Spread the mixture out almost to the edges of the squares. Then bake them. See what the baking instructions
on your dough calls for. You did save that cover wrapper, didn't you?
I baked mine for about 15 minutes --
but I used some bread dough that I saved just for the cute little sammies. Next time, I'll lower the temperature to about
375 degrees and bake them 25 minutes. After they're done baking, then fold them in half, making a triangle. Stick them
with a toothpick to make them behave and stay folded up like they're supposed to.
Oh my goodness! It is so
good. The flavors completely invade your mouth.
My next sammie adventure is going to be corned beef with sauerkraut.
Then when I take the sammies out of the oven, I'll pile shredded swiss cheese on them and fold them up. It will be a Reuben
Sammie. Wow! But just think of all the possibilities!
Well I got a lot of comments about my description of shrimps
from yesterday's blog. I'm glad the Shrimp Council of America didn't read the blog. I don't know what I'd
do if a big truck showed up on my doorstep with about a half ton of shrimp for me to "try."
I'd call every nursing home in the area and have them come over and help themselves. Then I'd see if there
was any room left in the deep freeze at church. I'd be only too willing to give away the bounty to my friends --
as long as they took it and ate it and didn't make me eat any. I have no doubt that there are a lot of people who dearly
love the little critters -- I'm just not one of them. Meat loaf is my absolute favorite dish. Guess there's no accounting
for taste, huh? (Incidentally, I don't like escargot either.)
Well, today's Super Tuesday. We're
going out to vote here in a little while. I hope you will be voting too.
And for all you silly people who aren't
going to vote because you don't like the choices your party has given you on this brilliantly cloudy primary election
day, shame on you! But wait. On second thought, if you're a democrat and you can't see yourself voting for either
one of your candidates over on that side of the fence, feel free to jump on over here. Some of our best republicans used
to be democrats.
And for the people who are curious about how Quint and I vote, I will give you
a hint: we believe that life begins at conception and we will not vote for anyone who does not believe in the sanctity of
life. We are Pro-Life. That means that babies are people too whether they've been borne yet or not.
Pro-Choice people are Pro-Abortion people. End of story. And when Christ comes back to earth and sees the mountains of unborn
babies that were aborted, I'll just bet that one of the first questions he's going to ask is, "Who killed my
A CAT GOES TO HEAVEN -- from Antoinette Oberheu
cat died and went to heaven. God met her at the gates and said, "You have been a good cat all these years. Anything you
want is yours for the asking."
The cat thought for a minute and then said, "All my life I lived on a
farm and slept on hard wooden floors. I would like a real fluffy pillow to sleep on."
God said, "Say
no more." Instantly the cat had a huge fluffy pillow.
A few days later, six mice were killed in an accident
and they all went to heaven together. God met the mice at the gates with the same offer that he made to the cat.
The mice said, "Well, we have had to run all of our lives -- from cats, dogs, and even people with brooms! If we could
just have some little roller skates, we would not have to run again."
God answered, "It is done."
All the mice immediately had beautiful little roller skates.
About a week later, God decided to check on the cat.
He found her sound asleep on her fluffy pillow. God gently awakened the cat and asked, "Is everything okay? How have
you been doing? Are you happy?"
The cat replied, "Oh, it is wonderful. I have never been so happy in
my life. The pillow is so fluffy, and those little Meals on Wheels you have been sending over are delicious!"
SOMETIMES -- from J. Mark Stubbe
Sometimes in life, you find a special
Someone who changes your life
just by being part of it.
Someone who makes you laugh
Someone who makes you believe
that there really is good in the world.
Someone who convinces
that there really is an unlocked door
just waiting for you to open it.
This is Forever Friendship.
This is the sacred Red Rose!
DIFFERENT DRUG PROBLEM -- from Alice Stubbe
The other day, someone at a store in our town read that a methamphetamine lab had been found in an old farmhouse in the
adjoining county and he asked me a rhetorical question, "Why didn't we have a drug problem when you and I were growing
I replied that I had a drug problem when I was young: I was drug to church on Sunday morning. I was drug
to church for weddings and funerals. I was drug to family reunions and community socials no matter what the weather.
I was drug by my ears when I was disrespectful to adults. I was also drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents, told
a lie, brought home a bad report card, did not speak with respect, spoke ill of the teacher or the preacher, or if I didn't
put forth my best effort in everything that was asked of me.
I was drug to the kitchen sink to have my mouth washed
out with soap if I uttered a profanity. I was drug out to pull weeds in mom's garden and flower beds adn cockleburs out
of dad's fields. I was drug to the homes of family, friends and neighbors to help out some poor soul who had no one to
mow the yard, repair the clothesline, or chop some firewood, and, if my mother had every know that I took a single dime as
a tip for this kindness, she would have drug me back to the woodshed.
Those drugs are still in my veins and they
affect my behavior in everything I do, say, or think. They are stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroin; and, if today's
children had this kind of drug problem, America would be a better place.
God bless the parents who drugged us.
-- submitted by a concerned citizen
I'LL BE HAPPY WHEN -- from Antoinette
We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get married, have a baby, then another.
Then we are frustrated that the kids aren't old enough and we'll be more content when they. After that,
we're frustrated that we have teenagers to deal with.
We will certainly be happy when they are out of that
stage. We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we get a nicer
car, when we are able to go on a nice vacation or when we retire.
The truth is, there is no better time to be happy
than right now. If not now, when?
Your life will always be filled with challenges.
It's best to
admit this to yourself and decide to be happy anyway. Happiness is the way.
So, treasure every moment that you
have and treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time with...and remember
that time waits for no one.
So, stop waiting
Until your car or home is paid off.
Until you get a new
car or home.
Until your kids leave the house.
Until you go back to school.
Until you finish school.
you lose 10 pounds.
Until you gain 10 pounds.
Until you get married.
Until you get a divorce.
Until you retire.
There is no better time than right now to be happy. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. So work like
you don't need money, love like you've never been hurt, and dance like no one's watching.
BIBLE STUDY: 2 Corinthians 8:1-24
The above link brings you an excellent map of Macedonia, or Greece as we know it today. Paul is here in Macedonia
when he writes to the churches in Corinth. a town about 55 miles west of Athens. Macedonia was one of three administrative
districts in Greece.
As Paul opens this part of his letter to the Corinthians, he them to know about
the richness of the Macedonian churches' generosity -- even though they experienced severe trials and extreme poverty.
In verses 3-5, Paul writes: For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their
ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.
And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will.
This theme of a Christian's life becomes central to Paul, as well as to other apostles. This theme is "Good
trees bear good fruit." Paul wanted the Corinthians to know -- and he wants us to know in our own modern age -- that
because of God's grace, how we live our lives changes. Because of God's grace, our attitudes change. It is God's
grace that makes the difference.
Paul says "So we urged Titus, since had earlier made a beginning, to bring
also to completion this act of grace on your part." (verse 6)
Oh, you bet. Paul wanted the Corinthians to
realize that their donations ought to be considered an act of grace, because they enjoyed God's grace. After all, the
Corinthians excelled in everything they did, whether it was evidencing their faith, or their speech, or in their knowledge,
or in the total and complete earnestness through which they showed their love for Paul and his fellow missionaries. Now, Paul
says, "...see that you also excel in this grace of giving." (verse 7b)
Well, Paul is not exactly commanding
the Corinthians -- but it's a test. He wants to see just how sincere their love is by comparing their giving to the churches
Apparently, the churches in Macedonia were poor. The churches in Corinth were not. Corinth, remember,
was a pretty sophisticated place to be. It was elegant. It has some pretty fancy gardens. Lots of good food. Corinth was a
splendid place to be. It was lively.
Corinth was a relatively old colony. It enjoyed a successful trade with bronze
and pottery. Its colonial history dated all the way back to 404 B.C. until the Romans came along and destroyed the city in
146 B.C. -- but then Julius Caesar took it upon himself to restore the city in 46 B.C. From that time, it grew rapidly
and actually became the capital of Achaia and the seat of the Roman proconsul.
One Greek proverb says "See
Corinth and die" -- meaning that after you see Corinth, there's nothing left worth seeing in all the world. Must
have been someone from the Corinth Chamber of Commerce, don't you think?
These were not poor people. And Paul
wanted to make sure that they knew that he would be holding them accountable for being at least as generous in their giving
as the churches in Macedonia. He then writes: "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich,
yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich."
Paul reminds the Corinthians
that this is what's best for them (verses 10-12): And here is my advice about what is bet for you in this matter:
Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so.
Now finish the work, so that
your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.
For if the willingness
is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.
is saying it's the willingness to give that makes charity a gracious gift of love. It's not unlike the story in Mark
about the widow's mite (Mark 12:41-44). Jesus says in verses 43-44: I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put
more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything
-- all she had to live on.
Interesting that Paul and Mark should come up with a common theme in the graciousness
of the spirit of giving. And we know that Paul and Mark knew each other so they most likely had many shared conversations
about this topic.
Then Paul tells the Corinthians that Titus is coming back to them to finish the appeal for funds
that he had begun the previous year. And Paul wants the Corinthians to know that this is Titus' idea, not Paul's.
Not only that, but one of the brothers is coming with Titus. It's the brother who is praised by all the churches for his
service to the gospel.
Not only that, but this same brother was chosen to go with Paul and his group when they
carried these offerings which they administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help (verse
Paul doesn't name this brother but a footnote from my Concordia Study Bible (page 1784) says this could
be Luke, or Barnabas.
The point is, Paul was giving the Corinthians an example of how important it is to properly
handle the funds of the churches.
In our own day and age, we could say that good accounting principles require
that there be at least two people counting the church receipts. Better to have three or four just to remove any temptations
that the devil would lead people into. That way, the whole matter is above reproach from anyone who would bear false witness
Paul explains further: We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal
gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men. (verses
Then Paul wants to make sure that the Corinthians understand that Titus and the brothers are coming to them
not only as partners and fellow workers but also as representatives of the churches and an honor to Christ.
Paul wants the men to be revered for their outstanding faithfulness.
does this chapter resonate with your own giving? Does it come up to the 10% tithe that is referenced so many times in the
Sometimes we use the word "tithe" to be synonymous to an offering but in truth, tithe means 10%
of the first fruits. That is, pre-tax income.
Can you image how much we could do with mission and outreach work
if churches had 10% to work with? I would challenge you figure out what your title ought to be, then take what you are actually
bringing to your congregation's budget, and add to this amount regularly until you reach a full tithe.
had friends who were pretty hefty tithers -- in fact, I'd call them "super tithers" because they gave more than
10%. One evening at a church dinner, we were sitting next to this couple and the subject of tithing came up. The gentleman,
who was a very successful businessman in our town, said that he couldn't afford not to tithe. When he started tithing,
the success of his business took off like a rocket and ever since, he'd been giving as God had blessed and prospered him.
That was when we started adding a couple of bucks to our offering each month until it reached a tithe. And we now echo
this gentleman's sentiment. We can't afford not to.
Can you see where tithing is an act of faith? Even
if you think you can't afford to tithe?
We pray: Oh Lord, I thank you for your grace and for
taking care of us. I thank you for your love. I pray that you would open our hearts so that we could be even more generous
with all that you have given to prosper us. Help me to remember that all gifts come from you, and that they are gifts you
have given us to share. Amen.
Monday, February 4, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
It is a foggy, foggy day here in the moors
of Effingham! I can't even see the back of the back yard all that well. Just a vague outline of some tree skeletons back
Quint says it's the cold coming up out of the ground. So begone with you, Creepy Cold. You're scaring
my dirt. And besides, there are daffodils planted under there.
Quint went out shopping. He drowned the coffee
pot this morning. When I got up he was in the kitchen wiping down the counter top, and the front of the cabinets, and the
coffee pot was upside down in one of the sink basins. He mumbled something about accidentally using two coffee filters and
the whole thing overflowed and probably got down into the heating element. When he got everything cleaned up and wiped down,
the silly thing still wouldn't cook our morning coffee.
Fortunately we had a couple of cups left from yesterday,
but after they were gone, things got desperate. We're coffee drinkers. Always have been. And we make our coffee "firehouse
strong," as one of my fireman clients used to tell us. He always enjoyed a cup of coffee when he came in for his sessions.
Anyway, we've never particularly espoused to all those scare tactics about coffee being all that bad for people.
My grandmother, bless her heart, enjoyed her coffee up until the day she died at the ripe age of 88 years.
then there was that research done a couple of years ago that tied coffee deprivation to a higher incidence of depression.
So I figure that God made the coffee bean. He must have had something in mind and we're only too happy to enjoy our morning
coffee with him every day.
But I'm not so sure about shrimp. They look too much like bug butts. Can't
eat 'em. But then, John the Baptist existed on honey and locusts when he was out there on the desert trails. Do you suppose
locusts taste like shrimp? I'll just bet they do, which is another reason why I'm not eating any shrimpies.
Or snake burgers. Or alligator parts. I'll leave those little dishes to people who are a lot more gourmetish than I
am, thank you very much.
BIBLE STUDY: 2 Corinthians 7:1-16
brings another of Paul's profound truths. It's found in verse 10: Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to
As this chapter opens, it seems as if Paul is battling for credibility. Possibly the false teachers
have started spreading the rumor that Paul has not been telling the truth -- that Paul is a fraud.
Paul gets word
from travelers of what is going on in Corinth and his response is a blistering defense (verse 2): We have wronged no one,
we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one.
Having said that, Paul quickly adds a comforting note
to assure the Corinthians that his anger rests on the shoulder of the person who has accused him (verses 3-4): I do not
say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you. I
have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.
And remember Titus? Paul wanted to see Titus in Troas, but Titus was not able to meet Paul there. So Paul
heads on over to Macedonia where, lo and behold, Titus is able to join him.
And the good news that Titus brings
from Corinth fills Paul's heart with joy. Titus brings Paul all the news from Corinth (verse 7b): He told us about
your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.
seems to me that this passage says that Paul is able to reconcile any upset he may have with the church at Corinth and lay
this upset at the feet of the false teachers who were trying to undo Paul's work. Paul was genuinely joyful that the Corinthians
still wanted to be a part of Paul's ministry and that they, in fact, still loved Paul and were concerned about his well
Then Paul seems to take a rather parental stance -- those of you who are parents will know what I mean
-- it's like when you discipline an errant child, then feel like perhaps your discipline seemed a bit too harsh -- so
you come back to explain to the child that it was for their "own good."
Well, no matter how well intentioned
that may be, children just do not have the capacity to understand that something that is as hurtful to them as discipline
could possibly ever be for their own good.
But Paul says it anyway in verses 8-9: Even if I caused you sorrow
by my letters, I do not regret it.
Though I did regret it -- I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little
while -- yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance.
you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us.
So this is what Paul would liken
to "Godly sorrow" that I mentioned at the beginning of today's study. He says it's the kind of sorrow
that leads to salvation.
On the other hand, Paul says Godly sorrow is different from the "worldly sorrow"
that brings death.
Worldly sorrow comes up out of a concern for being caught. It doesn't lead to being
sorry for whatever was done. It's too self-centered, or narcissistic, to be repentant. Keep in mind that there's
an element of entitlement in worldly sorrow. That is, people do what they know is wrong, or sinful, but somehow, they've
wrapped this feeling of entitlement around their sin so that they can justify deserving what they want.
And before they know it, this feeling of entitlement has brought them to sin.
God does not like that.
But Godly sorrow, on the other hand, brought out a lot of earnestness from the Corinthians. And other feelings are
listed in verse 11: eagerness to clear yourselves, indignation, alarm, longing, concern, readiness to see justice
At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.
Then Paul gets back to his letter to the Corinthians in verses 12-13: So even though I wrote to you, it was not on account
of the one who did the wrong or of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted
to us you are. By all this we are encouraged.
Paul closes this chapter by telling the Corinthians how happy
he is that treated Titus so well. Paul kind of admits that Titus wondered if they would really like him or if they were just
being nice to him because Paul told him they ought to be.
Now, based on what Titus has to tell of the Corinthians,
Titus figures that their affection for him was real, and not just because they were assigned to be nice by Paul.
That pleases Paul a lot. He says, then, in verse 16: I am glad I can have complete confidence in you.
1. Have you ever considered that there's a difference between Godly sorrow
and worldly sorrow?
I will admit that, even though I have read Corinthians before, this differentiation
in the types of sorrow didn't jump off the page to me as it did this time.
And perhaps as a parent, when
I realized that I too had been too harsh with my children, I wanted to "soften the blow," so that they would not
doubt my love for them.
Do you suppose that God thinks of his believers in this way also? He did send his
son Jesus Christ to die for our sins because he loves us so much.
In your discussion of this chapter, talk about
God as the parent and us as his children, for we know that we become heirs to the kingdom. What are some of the ways
that you think God has disciplined you as a loving father?
We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I come
to you filled with sorrow for all my sins.
I bring to you a repentant heart that is filled with contrition
for all the wrongs that I have done and for what I continue to do, even though I don't want to do anything wrong.
I pray that you will forgive me anew. I pray that you will send your Holy Spirit to be with me to guide me so that I can
cross over temptations that threaten to bring me only to a fake worldly sorrow.
I pray that your Holy Spirit
will come into my heart and clean out all those places where my own ego causes me to build up big phony cases of why
and how I deserve to think thoughts that you don't want me to think. Cleanse my heart, Oh Lord, and bring me to you
with a contrite heart. Amen.
Friday, February 1, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
We only have 4-1/2 inches of snow here
in the middle of the state. The situation doesn't look all that great up north, though.
Our good friend, Patti,
shoveled her little heart out and it's still coming down.
So, may I be the first to welcome you to February!
And tomorrow is the Big Rat Day -- otherwise known as Groundhog Day. No matter what he does, spring is only six weeks away.
Count the days from February 2 to March 21! Spring's a'comin!
It will be up to 59 degrees by next week.
And starting tomorrow, the temperatures are going to get up above freezing and stay that way until next December. Well, maybe
during the day.
Quint checked his daily journal and reported that I was transplanting petunias on April 20 of
last year. Hopefully I can do the same this year, plus tomatoes in my garden. It's been rototilled and the ground is just
sitting there grinning at me when I look out my kitchen window.
Quint went out this morning and cleaned off
his bird feeder. He really worries when his little darlings can't get at their chow.
We're going to brave
the elements and head out later this morning. Quint says he's seen the snowplow come down our street three times
since he got up at 6:30 this morning. That means, by his deductive logic, that the streets are in good shape all over town.
I guess our snowbound days are over.
And since he's never wrong, it will be a great opportunity to go back
to Wal-Mart and get more yarn. I finished all the tie-backs for the curtains in the living room and dining room. Now I've
decided to make a table runner to match the tie-backs.
We may as well go on over to the mall this afternoon and
walk some too. Walking every day helps keep our creaking old bones limbered up. I can really notice it when we skip a day
or two. Plus, the weight starts creeping back on -- like about a half pound every few days. Now, we don't set any land
speed records but we do get our two miles in. Apparently it counts.
We reward ourselves when we're done walking
with a cup of fresh brewed coffee at the little shop in the mall. We also watch Fox News on their TV that's in the window
of the shop. It's our cool down part of the walk.
BIBLE STUDY: 2 Corinthians 6:1-18
The early verses in this chapter strike a chord with the worshipers at Corinth. Paul has been talking about
the resurrection. Paul tells them about how their belief in this resurrection and faith in Christ's resurrection brings
them a new eternal life after their earthly life is done with.
Like the "jars of clay," their outer body
is no longer needed, because the read treasure is what is inside the clay jars. It is this inner treasure that goes home to
heaven to be with Christ.
And the tent that is like an outer covering, also likened to the physical body because
the "tent" is like the house that the soul lives in while the person is alive on earth.
Okay, so it looks
like the Corinthians got that. They understood the metaphors that Paul was using. They believed that their bodies would die
one day but that their soul lived on and they believed in the resurrection, for just as Christ rose from the dead, so they
would also. Someday.
But then, in their quiet moments, they thought of other "for instances."
It happens to all of us. The Corinthians were no different.
So, for instance, what happens to all of the
people who lived a long time ago? What about those devout followers of the true God? They died, for instance, before Christ
came to earth to die for our sins and they died before Christ was resurrected from the dead. What happens to them when Christ
comes back to earth for the second time to gather his followers.
For instance, if those people never had the opportunity
to follow Christ, what happens to them when Christ comes back?
It's a fair question. And I'll just bet
that Paul was eternally grateful that he had been gifted with the Holy Spirit for counsel in answering these kinds of questions.
So Paul starts off this chapter with this admonition: As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's
grace in vain. For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell
you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation. (verses 1-2)
What did Paul mean when
he was talking about not receiving God's grace in vain? All we need to do is backtrack just a few verses to Chapter 5:15
and re-read: And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them
and was raised again.
Basically, then, the message I get from those passages in Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 is
that we are all here to build God's kingdom -- to live for Christ. We build God's kingdom in many, many ways. We bring
our children to the Lord early in their young lives. We read the stories of Jesus to our children when they are youngsters.
We love our children with all our hearts and honor them for the gifts they are from God. They enrich our lives and bring us
We go to church on our sabbath days to worship God. We share what we believe with people who want to know
more about God and Christ.
We support our missionaries in faraway places, even if it's only a few bucks a
month or so. If a couple million believers sent just $2 to the missions, what a blessing of growth that would be. And it's
not just worship places in faraway countries.
We have opportunities aplenty right here at home to keep the roof
on our church buildings so that our houses of worship are always ready to receive and develop faith in people who are searching
We live for Christ after we have received God's grace. And Paul says that if we do not live for Christ,
then we have received God's grace in vain.
Paul talks about now being the time of God's favor, now is the
day of salvation. We are living in this age of God's grace -- this time that is in between Christ's first coming and
the promised second coming. Now is the time for us to receive the promised grace from God.
It's right there
-- at the tip of our fingers, ready for us to close our palms around it and bring it to our breast. God's grace -- take
it and live with it. Its time has come for us to put God's grace into our hearts. God's grace is a healing balm
that soothes all the woundings we have ever experienced in our lives.
God's grace is the powerful weapon of
But Paul is concerned that he lead a life that is as close to purity as is humanly possible. He
does not want to do one single thing that would offend anybody -- or discredit the message that comes through him from the
Holy Spirit. He gives us a rather long list of his human experiences in verses 3-10.
I urge you to read this list.
It is his underscore of what he's endured. All the hardships and the beatings. Even imprisonments. He's literally
walked through riots and come out the other side still alive.
He says he's endured sleepless nights. Why would
he be anxious, do you suppose? At least, anxious enough to keep awake at nights. Do you think he feared that he wasn't
doing enough fast enough to grow God's kingdom?
Paul couldn't wait to be on the road again. He wanted
to go to the ends of the earth to share the gospel message. Paul was on fire for Christ! His missionary journeys blazed a
path through the middle east, around Palestine, across the waters to Greece, then back through Turkey, then back to Jerusalem,
then back again. All around. Thousands of miles for Christ.
Would you do that? How often do you witness your faith
in Christ? How has your faith changed your life? It has changed your life, hasn't it?
Paul says he has endured
hunger. He says he lives his live in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;
in truthful speech and in the power of God, with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory
and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet
we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, yet possessing
Wow! When I think of the creature comforts I have and the things I don't have to endure, like
Paul did, I am humbled by just how little I do.
And then Paul assures the Corinthians that he loves them most dearly,
even if their hearts are being turned away from Paul by these false apostles. Paul says he has opened his hearts wide to the
Corinthians. Never did he withhold his affection from them even if they did to him.
Then he tells them that it
would be a fair exchange if they opened their hearts to him like he has to them and that he speaks to them as if they were
Watch out for liars, Paul warns them. In verses 14-16b: Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.
For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?
Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?
What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?
(Belial is a Hebrew word for Satan.)
This is a long, definitive list of comparisons/contrasts. Seems to be the comparisons between good and evil.
Remember Paul comments in the last chapter about reconciliations. Now comes this list from Paul with polarities
that do not get reconciled.
In verses 16b-18, we read: For we are the temple of the living God. As God has
said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."
Therefore come out from them and be separate," says the Lord.
"Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive
"I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters."
the promise of our Lord -- that he will be a Father to us and we are his sons and daughters. And what does a Father do for
his children? He builds a place for them to live. So when we die, our soul goes to heaven and we live with God, our Heavenly
Father, for he has promised that we are his sons and daughters.
In this age of grace that we are living in, we
are given this promise. It is the same promise that the ancestors of old, back in the Old Testament times, could only glimpse
from afar. They knew and believed that Christ was coming to earth to save all mankind from sin. The prophets promised this
truth time and time again.
But Christ on earth wasn't a reality for them yet. No one saw Christ's crucifixion
or his resurrection, yet they believed. And because they believed, they became sons and daughters of our Lord in heaven.
This was the powerful, powerful message that Paul brought to the Corinthians, and he brings to all who read God's
Word today. It is the message from the Holy Spirit that gets written anew on our hearts every day.
Make your Bible
search a daily pleasure.
1. See how many different ways you can
list that you live in Christ. Keep in mind that there are things you can do that would make a big difference in the lives
of others that may seem small and insignificant to you. Do them anyway.
2. Are you reluctant or bashful about sharing
your faith with others? Or are you on fire like Paul was? If you don't have as burning a fire as Paul did, what would
it take to kindle that ability in you? At least most of us are all living in a time and place where people know who Christ
I realize, though, that some of you are not. And I pray for you every day. To our readers in Nigeria and in
Iran and on other continents, I pray for your safety as you share the gospel message of Christ to people who do not know him.
I thank God for the Internet that brings you to this Bible Study.
Thank you all for joining us. I am going
to put a link here again for a Bible translation that you can go to while you read these studies:
The Bible is at this site, chapter by chapter. All the books of the Bible. And each chapter can be downloaded.
Permission is granted to all who want to download these pages for your own Bible Studies.. I just ask that
you include a link back to this site.
Dear Heavenly Father: I pray that you
would equip me to be more sharing and bolder in approaching others who need to hear your gospel message. I pray that
you would make me more like Paul, even in the face of dangers for those people around the world who are not always safe in
I thank you, Lord, that I live in a country where I can worship you freely. Help me, embolden me, take
away my shyness so that I can speak up for your message of salvation. It is not fair that I keep this message all to myself.
It is not right that I leave this task for others to do for you have also gifted me with the Holy Spirit to speak your truth.
I pray that you will bless all who are stopping by here today. Embrace them with your love and keep them safe.
I thank you that you have gifted me with the skill to put thoughts into words and I pray that your message will
continue to reach many around the world through this Bible Study. Amen.
We welcome July readers from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Germany,
Greece, Hungary, India, Latvia, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden,
Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, Vietnam and United
This video is the most beautiful depiction of what happens
in the womb when the baby is developing and growing. The video was developed by Yale professor Alexander Tsiaras. Just beautiful.
Warning, though. Some of the images are graphic. But nothing gross. It is just a reminder to me that life is a beautiful baby
and life is absolutely precious. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKyljukBE70&feature=player_embedded#!
July 29, 2012
Update on Quint: He
is making an incredible recovery. The skin cancer is essentially gone. When we met with the surgeon for a post-op appointment
on Friday, we learned that the biopsy of the frozen section shows all the cancer was removed. The incision is healing nicely.
It's about a 6" incision down the side of his face in front of the left ear. The doctor put so many stitches in that
any scar is hardly visible. Thanks to all for prayers you have been lifting up for his health. The surgeon says there are
dissolving stitches in three levels of tissue. We also met with our oncologist last week and he says the lymphocitic/leukemia
will continue to make Quint vulnerable to skin cancers. Please keep him in your prayers so that all his cancers, and mine
as well, will remain in remission.
I received the following about a child's reason for why he believes in God
from our friends, John and Sherre, in Wichita, KS:
Little Boy's Explanation of God
He wrote it for his third grade homework assignment,
to 'explain God.'
I wonder if any of us
could have done as well?
'One of God's main jobs is making people.
He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there
will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn't
make grownups, just babies. I
think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn't have to take up
time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.'
'God's second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some
people, like preachers
and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn't have time to listen to
the radio or TV because of this. Because
he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in
his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.'
'God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you
shouldn't go wasting
his time by going over your mom and dad's head asking for something they said you
'Atheists are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in Chula Vista [California]. At least
aren't any who come to our church.'
'Jesus is God's Son. He used to do all the hard work, like walking on water and performing miracles
and trying to teach
the people who didn't want to learn about God. They finally got tired of him
preaching to them and they crucified him.
But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his
father that they didn't know what they were doing and to forgive
them and God said O.K.'
'His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him
he didn't have to
go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps
his dad out by listening to prayers
and seeing things which are important for God to take care of
and which ones he can take care of himself without having
to bother God. Like a secretary, only more
'You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of
them is on duty
all the time.'
'You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there's anybody you want to
Don't skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And
sun doesn't come out at the beach untilnoon anyway.'
'If you don't believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your
parents can't go everywhere
with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He's around you when
you're scared, in the dark or when you can't
swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big
'But. . .you shouldn't just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can
take me back
anytime he pleases.
And...that's why I believe in God.'
July 13, 2012
Quint is recuperating
from surgery on July 11, 2012. Surgeon removed a growth on left cheek that turned out to be squamous cell cancer. Prognosis
is good because doctor says he got good margins. Please continue to pray for him. He has a 4" incision on left cheek
from about the corner of his eye all the way down to jawbone. Looks worse than it is.
In another matter, this
link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2172551/Art-genius-Nine-year-old-painter-tipped-greatness-buyers-world-snap-work.html shows some incredible artwork that a young, 9-year old in England, artist has painted and his work is beginning to sell
July 1, 2012
I'm a Lutheran
and I sure wish the Lutheran Church had authored this video or one like it: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=D9vQt6IXXaM&hd
No matter, it's a message that needs saying so hats off to the Catholic church!
On another subject,
the temperature here in Middle Illinois at 6 p.m. as 102.8 degrees. That's really hot.
Stay safe out there. If
you do not have air conditioning, or if your AC goes out in this heat, sit in a tub of cool water. It will do wonders pulling
heat out of your body. And let's remember in prayers all those folks on the eastern seaboard who don't have electricity. They
don't even have fans to plug in.
Kind of reminds me of going to church when I was a kid. Oh, was that hot. And
remember those hand fans that funeral homes gave out free to churches? We wore ours out.
June 24, 2012
The heat is
the story here in the Midwest part of the United States. I can't tell you when the last time there was rain, but the corn
stalks are starting to look pretty wilted. The word "parched" comes to mind. The beans don't look any better either.
So the big conclusion that some people have arrived at is that God is punishing the United States because so many
people have turned away from Him?
And how many?
and doomers pontificate about how we're all going to die and go to hell can't give any numbers. Can't offer any hope.
Well, folks, don't you believe it. God is a God of love. He wants all of us to be saved.
And to those people
who think they can define the reasoning of God are being sacrilegious. They are talking when they should be listing to God.
My God is a God of love. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to die for our sins. Because of that, we are
assured of salvation and life eternal.
But there are those who are going through these crises of faith. They're
noisy. When God talks to you, listen to Him. It's that still, small voice inside you. And don't believe the naysayers who
think they have he last word on what means and what God intends to do. They don't know. They just don't know.
faith is what will bring you closer to God. Let Him into your hearts and listen to Him.
June 6, 2012
We don't laugh enough.
We are not light hearted enough. Way too serious. Oh, there are times when serious is good for you, but there are many more
days when we just are not enjoying a good laugh.
So someone sent me a link to Mark Lowry. He's a Christian comedian
and good for a real belly laugh, I can guarantee you.
Here's the link: http://jesus-loves-you.org/?p=6641
I'm going to You Tube and search for him and see if he's got other material. He's really funny.
May 15, 2012
Our U.S. Constitution
is not flawed. It's not dead. It's not irrelevant!
Those who think it's out of touch with today's "modern
thought" fail to realize that the U.S. Constitution is modernized each time the United States Supreme Court reviews a
law or an incident and decides whether the rights of our citizens are abridged or impeached.
The language of the
U.S. Constitution does, in fact, reside in a little book small enough to fit inside a man's jacket pocket or in a lady's handbag.
However, volumes and volumes of interpretive material fills libraries. Interpretation by the sitting Justices keeps our Constitution
May 12, 2012
Our God is awesome!
God controls the waters and the seas. Take a look at this video of the angry sea. http://www.dump.com/angryseas/
May 10, 2012
I am in the process of researching the involvement and the role that the National Road (U.S. 40) played in military
activities -- specifically troop movements. If you know of any such movements, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put "National Road info" in the subject line. I'd be ever so grateful. If you do not want your name used, be
sure to tell me. Otherwise, I'd like to share that you found the information. This is for a funding opportunity for Effingham
County and it will focus on the role that the National Road has played in the significance of Effingham.
April 27, 2012
Well, that was
a nice little rest.
Since I've last posted, I've fretted that frost would get my lovely irises. It didn't. Nor
did the frost chip away at my roses. I have never had roses blooming in April before. They have exploded into full bloom.
Bright red blooms against our white house. Wow!
And the irises are just as beautiful. I have some really deep purple
irises, light lavender, some two-toned purple and white, bright yellow, a lighter lemon chiffon color, a pink iris and a peach
colored one that is a double.
The spirea finally decided it would bloom too.
All in all, considering
that I did absolutely nothing last year in the flower bed, it's amazing that my little troopers have done as well as they
have. The irises apparently are no longer upset with me for snipping them back at the end of January and early February. Again
in March when they started sending up things that looked like they'd bloom.
We've still had frost tucked in between
80 degree days but nothing serious enough to hurt my darling little flowers.
Quint and I are doing well. We continue
to see our oncologist every three months and get blood work to check markers for cancer that might have decided to invade
us again. So far, so good. Platelet counts are coming back to normal and we're working on our stamina.
I do have
to take some medication for five years -- well, four years now -- that inhibits estrogen. It will keep breast cancer from
recurring. Problem is, it makes the long bones in my legs and muscles in the thighs really ache. Nothing that can't be tolerated
though. Compared to the benefits of what the medicine does for me, I'd say I came out the winner at this point.
lymphoma is still in remission too, so we're pretty health for the shape we're in.
And now I'm going to fix us
a snack of yogurt, sliced strawberries, sliced bananas and walnuts. Then we're going to watch some spy thrillers on Netflix
Nice to be back and thank you for not giving up on me.
April 10, 2012
I am getting
over the grandaddy of all colds. I expect to be better by morning, after having laid around all day today. Finally just gave
it up and stayed in bed.
Until now, that is.
And you know how I love kids and their entrepreneural spirit.
Well, here's a video of a young lad in east LA who build an arcade out of cardboard boxes in his dad's auto parts store. His
name is Caine and he's 9 years old. It's just precious! http://games.yahoo.com/blogs/unplugged/nine-old-cardboard-arcade-launches-college-fund-182844242.html
Oh, and one other thing before I head back to my comfy easy chair. We have frost warnings for tonight. 30 degrees!
My irises and roses are blooming. Wonder how that's going to set with them.
I just thought I'd mention something
about all those spam emails and telemarketer calls you may be getting. Even if you're signed up for "do not call"
lists, you still can get calls. Here's how. If you take part in an online voting request, or if you call to participate in
a TV vote, you are setting up what is known as a "special relationship." Special relationships with a state allows
any advertiser of that station of promo outfit to put you on their callers who are exempt from the "do not call"
If you live in Illinois and you get a telemarketer call, just tell the caller that Illinois is a "do
not call" state and you do not want to be on their lists. They are required to hang up at that point. I've tried it and
Also, here's a tip for getting rid of all those preapproved gimmicks that find their way into your mailbox.
When I get the offers, the first thing I do is draw a big diagnonal line through the offer and write VOID on it. Then I stuff
the document back into the self-addressed postage paid envelope that they provide. The advertisers are going to stop sending
you stuff pretty quick rather than pay postage twice.
April 5, 2012
Thursday - the first part of the Easter trilogy.
Maundy Thursday was the night when Jesus shared bread and wine
with his disciples and commemorated the event that we've followed in the Lutheran Church for ages since that time.
When I was confirmed on Palm Sunday many years ago, Maundy Thursday was the first opportunity I was given as a new confirmant
to take my first communion. It was an awesome experience then, and it continues to be every chance I get.
that it is the same for you as you draw near to the Easter story.
Tomorrow is Good
Friday. Part 2 with the significance of Christ dying on the cross for our sins.
And then, of course, there's Easter
Sunday when we celebrate Christ's resurrection.
Sin and death no longer have a hold on us because Christ died for
April 4, 2012
Ready to watch
a miracle? Here's a video showing a woman in an SUV sinking. She couldn't swim. The SUV sank. But the miracle is not that
she was somehow pulled from the SUV but the after-story: http://salesianity.blogspot.com/2012/04/woman-drowning-in-her-suv-is.html --
May the blessings of Easter catch you up in the miracles going around you every day. Life is a miracle.
God brings miracles to us today just as He did thousands of years ago when Jesus died and rose again. I pray that you will
get caught up in the miracle of the Easter story all over again. Christ died for our sins and rose again, and because He rose
again, we have eternal life guaranteed to us by our Heavenly Father.
April 2, 2012
Want to know what
video of a couple of famous dancers has gotten more than 118 million hits? None other than the big routine from Dirty
Another trivia question that some of you may know the answer to has to do with the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's
failure at sea. April 15 is the date of this tragedy. If you thought most of the folks on board perished in the icy waters,
you'll be surprised to learn that only half died. Well, maybe "only" is not a good word. One would be too many on
a ship that was touted as unsinkable. There were 2,223 passengers and crew. 1,517 died. A little more than half.
April 1, 2012
If you haven't
heard this song by the Barn Again Gang -- On My Father's side -- am sure you'll enjoy it. And thanks to you, Joyce
from Frankfort, IL for sending: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5ddoyfn6g4
And here's Kaitlyn Maher, a 4-year old, singing in America's Got Talent. Mind you, she's had 26,585,501 hits on
her debut on the national stage. She is absolutely adorable! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwAbtizFCzo&feature=related
Kaitlyn Maher again, this time singing Ave Maria - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR0AXNtwqZE&feature=related
And she got to sing for President and First Lady Laura Bush: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fpt_UU96EG8&feature=related
Here she is singing the National Anthem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhD9kKb3hSM&feature=related
I have not ever heard the story about the "Praying Hands" so I am especially thankful to
Cody in Warrensburg, MO for sending Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with
eighteen children. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob,
the father and head of the household,
a goldsmith by profession, worked almost
eighteen hours a day at his tradeand any other paying chore he could find in
Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of the elder children, Albrecht and
Albert, had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew
full well that their father would
never be financially able to send either of them
to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.
After many long discussions
at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally
worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down
into the nearby
mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy.
Then, when that
brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he
would support the other brother at the academy, either
with sales of his artwork or,
if necessary, also by laboring in the mines.
They tossed a coin on a Sunday
morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and
went off to Nuremberg.
Albert went down into the dangerous
mines and, for the next four years, financed his
brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation.
etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his
professors, and by the
time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees
for his commissioned works.
When the young
artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive
dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant
homecoming. After a long and
memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored
at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the
years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht
to fulfill his ambition. His closing
words were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn.
can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream,and I will take care of you."
All heads turned in eager
expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat,
tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head
from side to side while
he sobbed and repeated, over and over, "No ...no....no ..no."
Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long
table at the faces he loved, and then, holding
his hands close to his right cheek,
he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me.
... Look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every
finger have been smashed at
least once, and lately I have been suffering from
arthritis so badly In my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass
to return your
toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush.
No, brother ....for
me it is too late."
More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer's hundreds of masterful
pen and silver-point sketches, water colors, charcoals, woodcuts, and
copper engravings hang in every great museum in
the world, but the odds are great
that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer's works.
More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction
hanging in your home or office.
One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer
painstakingly drew his brother's
abused hands with palms together and thin fingers
stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands,"
but the entire
world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed
his tribute of
love "The Praying Hands."
March 30, 2012
I have to
share with you that the operators of this web site have become increasingly frustration to work with. The way I see it, I
have two choices: (1) shut down the site altogether and discontinue the blogs, or (2) find a site that is more responsive
to what I want from a web site.
In the meantime, one of the questions that Jesus asked is #80 -- If you do not
believe Moses' writings, how will you believe me? (John 5:47)
Old Testament writings often come under fire as being
"irrelevant" or "out of date" or just "too old."
All of those excuses are flawed,
in my view.
In the first place, the Word of God is eternal.
Because the Word is eternal, it transcends
time and space.
For that reason, when you read the Bible, the breath of God is still on the paper; still on the
words. The Bible is the Word of God. It will never get "too old" or "out of date."
the Word. Absorb it; take it in. If you find any challenge whatsoever about understanding what some passages mean, then the
Counselor will be sent to you, just for the asking. Just pray that Jesus will send you His Counselor to assist you in your
Blessings to you in your spiritual journey through the Word of God.
March 27, 2012
Here is one
of the most precious tapes I've ever heard of a child: http://www.maniacworld.com/stay-calm-dad.html From my friend Shirley in Arizona. It's just precious!
This is a video I found on my own. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rtt-TmReaw&feature=related I love the innocence of this little girl. I pray that she will hold onto her dreams all her life and never let anyone
snatch them away from her.
God keeps the dreams of children in his right hand pocket. And woe be to those who
steal the dreams of a child.
Today I am going to discuss Question #66 from Luke 18:7 -- Will not God then
secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?
In the first place, I consider myself
one of God's chosen ones because I claim the inheritance of being a child of God.
And how did I get to
be a child of God? Simple. I believe that Jesus Christ, God's only Son, died for my sins and offered me salvation. By doing
this, He names says that I share in the inheritance of God's richest blessings.
And you most certainly can enjoy
this same inheritance and become a Child of God by believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins too.
that simple. You have only to believe.
This is my right, in God's own words. He says: Will not God then secure
the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? I believe that because I know that God does not lie.
He's good for His promises and when He says He's going to secure my rights, what do I have to fear?
And do I call
out to God day and night? Yes. In my car when I head out to work. I pray that some idiot does not plow into me head-on. I
pray that I don't get tee-boned by someone running a red light or a stop sign.
I pray that when I enter that miraculous
place of empty thoughts of what seems to be unconsciousness, that the veil will be lifted in the morning and I will re-awaken
to a new day. Sleep itself is a miracle. We fall into a mindless abyss every night and awaken refreshed to a new day. Is that
a miracle or what? How does God do that?
I remember reading or hearing this "what if" thought that when
you awaken in the morning, what if the only things you had in your life were the things you thanked God for yesterday! Kind
of put a new perspective on things for me. Instead of just nagging and nagging -- which I can be pretty good at -- for things
I think I want, or things I think I need -- I stop every day and thank God for what He gives me. The gifts are enormous and
I only get them because He is a gracious God. I certainly deserve nothing.
But all day and all night I talk to
God. We have an ongoing conversation. Help me with this, please. Oh, and thank you for that. Or how about all those problems
that you just can't seem to solve. Then He says, "I can help you with that." Or, after the problem is solved and
I nod a quiet thank you, He says "All you had to do was ask."
God is my friend. This King of the Universe
took notice of me when I was about four years old. That's when I started talking to Him in my head. I knew it was God because
I learned about Him in Sunday School. My Sunday School teacher told me I could just talk to God simply like he was an ordinary
person. I took her at her word and have never thought of God as anything but.
Even though I know for sure, now
that I have a few more years on me, that God is nothing ordinary at all. But I also know that He is never too busy to secure
my rights as one of His chosen ones.
Enjoy your day and rest easy in your sleep, dear friends. God is watching
out for you.
March 26, 2012
#32 that Jesus asked was, "Could you not watch for me one brief hour?" -- Matt. 26:40
There are lots
and lots of ways to travel through the Lenten season on the way to Calvary. And the reasons for doing things differently are
many and varied.
People offer up the thought that they can worship anywhere. They feel just as close to God, they
say, when they are listening to a beautiful piece of music, or walking through the woods in the late afternoon.
things are true.
But it seems to me that if you want to go down that path to Calvary, you ought to do it the way
that Jesus wants you to do it. Not the way you think, in your not-so-infinite pseudo-wisdom of coming up with these cute
little excuses. Cute, you think.
Truth is, Jesus wants you to go to your church, or your temple and watch
with him there, in that place.
This question that Jesus asks from Matthew sounds like a plea to me. Couldn't
you watch with me one hour?
Well, sure you could, if you thought it was important enough.
and I go to Lenten services and the church is not even half full. Where is everybody? Working? Playing? Doing homework? Driving
around? Out to dinner? Where are you? Those who couldn't come to this worshiping place to watch with Jesus one hour.
What if I told you that I had learned that Jesus was going to make one of those rare earthly appearances for one week only.
He was actually going to come to church because He wanted to talk to me.
I'd move heaven and earth to get there
on time. I want to meet this man while He's still alive. You bet I'd watch with him an hour. In fact, I'll stay up all night
if he stuck around to talk to me.
And talks to me He does. When I'm sitting in that pew, I can almost feel his
eyes burning a hole in my skin. Kind of at the back of my neck. I can almost feel his hand on my shoulder while he bends around
to look at me and whispers to me, "I'm so glad you came tonight. I'm doing this all for you, you know."
He's my Savior. We're connected. It must break His heart to see so many empty pews when they should be overflowing with
people who are willing to give Him one hour of their busy schedules.
"Why couldn't you watch with me one
hour?" He asks. It's a question you'll have all of eternity to answer Him one day.
March 25, 2012
Now this is precious!
It's a two year old dancing to Jailhouse Rock. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wt824D1Bqg He's got some good moves too.
March 24, 2012
At this time
of year, one of my favorite places on earth is Kentucky when the dogwood and redbud are in full bloom -- and nowhere are they
more beautiful than my home town -- Paducah, Kentucky.
Just look at these gorgeous photos and you'll see what I
These quips come from my cousin who lives in a small town not too far from Houston -- well, in Texas, 200 miles
is a "small distance" I think: THE POSITIVE SIDE OF LIFE:
Living on Earth is expensive,
but it does include a free trip
around the sun every year.
How long a minute is
depends on what side of the
bathroom door you're on.
Birthdays are good for you;
the more you have,
the longer you live.
Happiness comes through doors you
didn't even know you left open.
Ever notice that the people who are late
are often much jollier
than the people who have to wait for them?
Most of us go to our grave
with our music still inside of us.
If WalMart is lowering prices every day,
how come nothing is free yet?
You may be only one person in the world,
but you may also be the world to one person.
Some mistakes are too much fun
to only make once.
Don't cry because it's over;
smile because it happened.
We could learn a lot from crayons:
some are sharp, some are pretty,
some are dull, some have weird names,
and all are different colors....but
they all exist very nicely in the same box.
A truly happy person is one who
can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
Have an awesome day, and
know that someone
who thinks you're great
has thought about you today!..
"And that person was me.".....
Please don't keep this message
to yourself.....send it to those
who mean so much to you.... "NOW".
Thank you, Frances. I love the one about some mistakes. Hope you don't have too many people
out there who are all to eager to point each and every little mistake you make. Those, I think, are the ones who go to
their graves with the music still living inside them. It's just too much "vinegar energy" to look for flaws in people.
And God knows I have more than my share, it seems. But here's the thing: I don't make mistakes on purpose and I never
make mistakes with the idea of making someone's misery index go up. I just thank God that I am surrounded by true
friends who cut me some slack. You know the ones. They really care about you. I like the idea that we are all living in a
big crayon box. That has to be one of those lessons learned in kindergarten. But then, I'm old enough to realize that
we didn't have kindergarten when I started school.
I celebrated kicking off my educational pursuits by going down
the big slide on the playground with a somersault from the top. I was grounded from recess for the rest of the week.
These beautiful thoughts also come from Frances:
JUST TO LET YOU KNOW THAT IT IS CHRISTIAN
PERSON WEEK AND YOU SHOULD SEND THIS TO
ALL BEAUTIFUL CHRISTIAN PEOPLE
When I say that 'I am
a Christian', I am not shouting that 'I am clean living. I'm
whispering 'I was lost, but now I'm found and forgiven.'
When I say 'I am a Christian' I don't speak of this with pride. I'm confessing that
I stumble and need Christ
to be my guide.
When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not trying to be strong. I'm professing that I'm
need His strength to carry on.
When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not bragging of success. I'm admitting I have
failed and need God to clean my mess.
When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not claiming to be perfect. My flaws
are far too
visible, but God believes I am worth it.
When I say 'I am a Christian' I still feel the sting
of pain. I have my share of
heartaches, so I call upon His name.
When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not holier
than thou, I'm just a simple sinner who
received God's good grace, somehow!
Today is Beautiful Christian Person's
Pretty is as Pretty does but, Beautiful is just plain Beautiful..
I'm supposed to send this to Beautiful
and you are one of them!!!
March 21, 2012
sermon text at our 5th Midweek Lenten Service in Matthew 28:16-20 comes the command of Jesus that we are to go into all the
world and make disciples of all men.
Well, I don't know about you but I can't go to the airport and get a ticket
to go to some faraway place and work in a mission field. But those very words are the marching orders of the church.
What I can do is partner with the Lutheran Women's Missionary League and be a supplier of stuff that missionaries
can use. Quilts, for instance. Quilts are made in Lutheran churches all across this country. They find their way into orphanages.
In hospitals. In remote villages where they are placed over a low branch and become the roof of a home. If the villager is
lucky, a second quilt could be a floor. We need more quilts -- more than the 355,000 that have been made this winter. That
means there will be an unmet need.
Our church is going to put baby kits together. These baby kits will have a few
diapers in them. Some tee shirts. Some tiny little caps. Diaper pins and little sleepers. We're making the receiving blankets
and it will have a bunch of baby supplies in it, then pinned with the diaper pins. Missionaries can take these baby kits and
go into villages and give them to new mothers who often don't have clothes for newborn babies. And if they have a receiving
blanket at all, it was made from their old clothes that were too worn out to use anymore. Imagine the joy when a new mom gets
a bright, colorful receiving blanket that has been made with so much love and joy and prayers!
Yes, the women of
the Lutheran Women's Missionary League can partner with missionaries who are in a position to tell others first-hand what
Jesus has done for them. They can ground others by bringing them the Word of God.
And how long are we supposed
to do all this?
Jesus says "Until the end of the age." That is, we're supposed to keep on keeping on
until Jesus comes back for us.
In the meantime, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of ways that
I can reach out to people around the world and spread the wonderful message that Jesus Christ died for our sins and because
of his death on the cross, we can claim salvation as a child of God.
So this is the reason I write this blog. It's
my way of going around the world to talk to people about what Christ has done for each one of us. That would be you. And it
would be me. My computer is my magic carpet and on it, I can ride through cyberspace to reach you in 23 countries so far this
God bless each and every one of you.
March 20, 2012
results in Illinois: http://www.wthitv.com/subindex/elections/results Not all results are in at this writing.
If you are anywhere near middle Illinois on March 23, you could do
yourself a favor and go to the Effingham Performance Center at 8:00 p.m. and catch the show headlined by Scott Wattles of
Blue Suede Crew. Tickets are $5. He's an incredible performer for those of us who wax nostalgia over Elvis, Roy Orbison, Marty
Robbins, and a host of others. What a voice!
We had an opportunity to hear him for the first time on Sunday evening.
All Gospel songs. And a standing ovation for How Great Thou Art!
If I tried that it would come under the
category of making a joyful noise, but I am filled with appreciation for anyone who can sing really well. We are fortunate
because own Pastor Rensner is also a wonderful vocalist. I love listening to someone who loves to sing. And both these gentlemen
Earthquake near Acapulco registers 7.6! That's a really hefty earthquake even if it is about 200 miles
from Acapulco. God is sure rattling the earth these days. Two hundred miles is nothing when an earthquake ripples its way
through the earth.
It is still 78 degrees in the house. And Quint mowed the grass -- or part of it -- yesterday
afternoon. Don't remember that happening in March. Ever. We sure do enjoy having the windows open and soft warm breezes blowing
across us when we're sleeping though.
We pray for God's blessings to all of you. Some of you are living in dangerous area and you are especially in our prayers.
And we thank you for prayers too.
March 19, 2012
quote: PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID, OR WHAT YOU
SAID ~BUT~THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM
It's time for a patriotic song and this just arrived from Shirley, my favorite snow bird who has not
returned from Arizona yet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TPgJSZf5Vw&feature=youtu.be
And here's a cute little story sent by our friends John and Sherre in Wichita:
Subject: A New Pet
A single guy decided life would be more fun if he had a pet.
So he went to the pet store and told the owner
That he wanted to buy an unusual pet.
After some discussion, he finally bought a talking centipede,
(100-legged bug), which came in a little white box
To use for his house.
He took the box back home, found a good spot for the box,
And decided he would start off by taking his new pet
To church with him.
So he asked the centipede in the box,
"Would you like to go
To church with me today?
We will have a good time."
But there was no answer from his new pet.
This bothered him a bit, but he waited a few minutes
And then asked again,
"How about going
To church with me
And receive blessings?"
But again,there was no answer
From his new friend and pet.
So he waited a few minutes more,
Thinking about the situation.
The guy decided to invite the centipede one last time.
This time he put his face up against
The centipede ' s house and shouted,
"Hey, in there!
Would you like to go
ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS ......
Came out of the box,
"I heard you the first time!
I ' m putting my shoes on!"
March 17, 2012
the day when the whole world is Irish. That includes my cousin, Mark, who sends this blessing. It's beautiful poetry by Phil
Coulter and narrated by Roma Downey. I thank you Mark for this beautiful blessing and, in turn, send it along to all my friends:
http://www.andiesisle.com/ThisBlessingIsForYou.html Looking at the beautiful photos, I am reminded of a wonderful vacation that Quint and I took to Ireland a few years
ago. It's a beautiful country and I got an answer to why the green grass is so vibrant and emerald colored. Supposedly it's
because of the high level of minerals in the soil, most particularly calcium. And that's one of the reasons why Queen Elizabeth
sends here pregnant horses to Ireland to deliver. Munching on good Irish green grass makes for healthy bones for the baby
horse in the mom's womb, and also when the little baby horse starts to grow and develop. The grass really is emerald colored.
They aren't just kididng.
Ready for a little humor? This comes from my friend Cody in Warrensburg, MO:
Billy Graham was returning to Charlotte after a speaking engagement and when his
Plane arrived there was a limousine
there to transport him to his home.
As he prepared to get into the limo, he stopped and spoke to the driver.
'You know' he said, 'I am 87 years old and I have never
Driven a limousine. Would you mind if I drove
it for a while?'
The driver said,
'No problem. Have at it.'
Billy gets into the driver's
seat and they head off
Down the highway.
A short distance away
Sat a rookie State Trooper operating his
first speed trap.
The long black limo went by him doing 70 in a 55 mph zone.
The trooper pulled out
And easily caught the limo
And he got out of his patrol car to begin the procedure.
The young trooper walked
up to the driver's door
And when the glass
Was rolled down,
He was surprised to see
Who was driving.
He immediately excused himself and went back to his car
And called his supervisor.
'I know we are supposed
To enforce the law....
But I also know that
Given certain courtesies.
I need to know what
I should do because
I have stopped a
The supervisor asked,
'Is it the governor?'
The young trooper said,
he's more important
The supervisor said,
'Oh, so it's the president.'
'No, he's even more
Important than that.'
The supervisor finally asked,
then, who is it?'
The young trooper said,
'I think it's Jesus,
Because he's got Billy Graham
for a chauffeur!'
Smile - God loves you! I ask the Lord to bless you, as I pray for you today;
To guide you
and protect you, as you go along your way
God's love is always with you, God's promises are true.
you give God all your cares, believe with all your might that God will see you through.
March 16, 2012
I see a lot
of anxious people who come for counseling. And even though anxious people want very much to not be anxious anymore, they resist
doing the very thing that un-anxious people know all about. That is, un-anxious people live their lives on a foundation of
faith. Christ lives in their hearts. The Holy Spirit is used as a daily ever-ready counselor.
In going down the
list of 100 Questions That Jesus Asked, I come to Luke 12:26 which asks: If even the smallest things
are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest?
It's a humbling thought that we don't
have all that much control over the external events of our lives. For instance, there's that old Liar, Satan, who likes to
poke his nose into every facet of our business. He'd like to think we're easy pickings for his nasty little harvest. And beware
that you say such things as, "I'd give anything ..." Satan is the one who will seize that opportunity and yes, he
can grant your wishes, too. Many times he does. Then he comes back for payment from you a nickel at a time.
want wealth? Satan will give it to you. Then what? How many lives have been ruined by winning the lottery? But you say you'd
like to just try it? Don't bother. Satan doesn't play fair. He wants to own you, lock stock and barrel.
on the other hand, says, Do my work and I will prosper you. God is not against prosperity. It's not money that gets
people in trouble. Rather, it's the love of moneythat leads to sin. The love of money leads to greed and corruption.
People who are thousandaires strive to become millionaires. Millionaires strive to become billionaires. No matter how weather
they are, they are never satisfied with what they have. Prosperity, on the other hand, comes with contentment.
we are prosperous we thank the Lord that we have enough to spare and some left to share.
Lots of people are anxious
about money because they have this idea that they want more and more and more, and never realizing that they don't have enough,
and probably will never have enough to suit them.
But money isn't the only thing that causes so much anxiety. It's
the fear that we're never going to be in control of situations or events in our lives.
When you look at your life,
what is it that you think you do have control over? Your children? Your addicted spouse? Your job? Your ability to drive down
the street and not have an accident? Your shopping for food and making the assumption that the food hasn't been tampered with
by an idiot who has figured out a way to slip a poison into your food without it being detected until you get sick and are
rushed to a hospital? Or you order and egg at a restaurant and get a dose of salmonella.
How's that control thing
working out for you?
But here's what you do. First of all, get down on your knees and pray to God. Pray to Jesus
Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to come into your heart and help you figure things out better. God likes our prayers better when
we are reverent, I've found. That's why kneeling is best; it's humbling.
Don't want to do that? Well, you don't
have to. Life can continue the way it's been going for you if you are filled with fears and anxieties. But if you want your
life to change, let Jesus Christ into your heart. He has solutions for you that you can't even imagine.
Master of the universe and it's Jesus Christ who is the agent of change in your life, not you.
March 15, 2012
Oh my, what
a beautiful day we had today. It warmed up to a perfect 74 degrees. Soft, gentle breezes. Then there was this dark, ugly row
of clouds that I had my eye on as I drove to work. It was about twenty miles away. Never did get a drop of rain. The clouds
scooted east and stayed out of my way. The storm must have hit Detroit. I saw some pretty ugly video of tornadoes over there
late this afternoon. Lots of damage and rubble. Hope there were no casualties.
On another subject, I have been
thinking about compassion a lot these days. The people who are able to express and share it with others are so welcome in
my world. Here's the deal. We all have to fashion our responses to other people similarly to what our Lord and Savior, Jesus
Christ, would do.
Compassion and gentle tenderness. And love and kindness. And helping one another.
comes from good friend Shirley all the way from Arizona:
This is SIMPLY AWESOME!I’ve never seen this
before! Whoever put “The Resume of
Jesus Christ” together is surelya blessing to us all! Please share
it! The last
sentence says it all...
The Resume of Jesus Christ
Phone: Romans 10:13
Website: The Bible . Keywords: Christ, Lord, Savior
My name is Jesus -The
Christ. Many call me Lord! I've sent you my resume because
I'm seeking the top management position in your
heart. Please consider my
accomplishments as set forth in my resume.
I founded the earth and established the heavens, (See Proverbs 3:19)
formed man from the dust of the ground, (See Genesis 2:7)
I breathed into man the breath of life,
(See Genesis 2:7)
I redeemed man from the curse of the law, (See Galatians 3:13)
The blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant comes upon your life through me, (See
I've only had one employer, (See Luke 2:49 ).
never been tardy, absent, disobedient, slothful or disrespectful.
My employer has nothing
but rave reviews for me, (See Matthew 3:15 -17)
Skills Work Experiences
Some of my skills and work experiences include: empowering
the poor to be poor no
more, healing the broken hearted, setting the captives free, healing the sick,
sight to the blind and setting at liberty them that are bruised, (See
am a Wonderful Counselor, (See Isaiah 9:6). People who listen to me shall dwell
safely and shall not fear evil,
(See Proverbs 1:33 ).
Most importantly, I have the authority, ability and power to
cleanse you of your
sins, (See I John 1:7-9)
I encompass the entire breadth and length of knowledge,
wisdom and understanding,
(See Proverbs 2:6).
In me are hid all of the treasures
of wisdom and knowledge, (See Colossians 2:3).
My Word is so powerful; it has been
described as being a lamp unto your feet and a
light unto your path, (See Psalms 119:105).
I can even tell you all of the secrets of your heart, (See Psalms 44:21).
I was an active participant in the greatest Summit Meeting
of all times, (See
Genesis 1:26 ).
I laid down my life so that you may live, (See
II Corinthians 5:15 ).
I defeated the arch enemy of God and mankind and made a
show of them openly, (See
Colossians 2:15 ).
I've miraculously fed the poor, healed
the sick and raised the dead!
There are many more major accomplishments, too many
to mention here. You can read
them on my website, which is located at: www dot - the BIBLE. You don't need
Internet connection or computer to access my website.
Believers and followers worldwide will testify to my divine healing, salvation,
deliverance, miracles, restoration and supernatural guidance.
Now that you've read my resume, I'm confident that I'm the only candidate
qualified to fill this vital position in your heart. In summation, I will properly
direct your paths,
(See Proverbs 3:5-6), and lead you into everlasting life, (See
John 6:47 ). When can I start? Time is of
the essence, (See Hebrews 3:15 ).
Send this resume to everyone you know,
you never know
may have an opening!
Thanks for your help.
March 14, 2012
I just got
this link from my friend in the Quad Cities area in northern Illinois. It's an eagle mom sitting on her nest. And the article
points out that the nest if seven feet in diameter! http://www.alcoa.com/locations/usa_davenport/en/info_page/eaglecam.asp
Got this from Mary, a friend who lives in Springfield. It comes to her from an attorney. And just an aside, when
your credit card is stolen, you do know that you have to file the report in the police department where the fraud/theft took
place, don't you? There's lot of good advice here and I thank you, Mary, for sending this. I'm going to write "photo
ID required" on each card as I receive new ones. That's a great idea!
All Credit Card Users Advice
Advice for all credit card users posted by Bluwolf at Caps Corner
Sunday morning 03/11/2012
bluwolf] Read this and make a copy
for your files in case you need to refer to it
we should all
take some of his advice! A corporate attorney sent
the following out to the
employees in his
1.Do not sign the back of your credit cards.
Instead, put 'PHOTO ID REQUIRED.'
you are writing checks to pay
on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the
line. Instead, just put the last four
numbers. The credit card company
knows the rest of the number, and anyone
who might be handling your check as it
passes through all the check processing
channels won't have access to it.
3.Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If
you have a PO Box use that instead
of your home address. If you do not have a PO
Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks.
You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have It printed, anyone can get
the contents of your wallet on photocopy machine. Do both sides of each
license, credit card, etc. You will know what
you had in your wallet and all of
the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in
a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here
or abroad. We've all heard horror
stories about fraud that's committed on us in
stealing a Name, address,Social Security number, credit cards..
Unfortunately, I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my
wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the
thieves ordered an expensive
monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line
to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my
driving record information online, and more.
But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:
5.We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately.
But the key is having the toll free numbers and
your card numbers handy so you
know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.
6.. File a police
report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc.,
were stolen. This proves to credit providers you
were diligent, and this is a
first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one). But here's what is
most important of all: (I never even thought to do this.)
Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations
immediately to place a fraud
alert on your name and also call the Social Security fraud line number. I had
heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an
application for credit was made over the Internet
in my name. The alert means
any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they
to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.
By the time I
was advised to do this, almost two
weeks after the theft, all the damage had
been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves'
purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no
additional damage has been done,
and the thieves threw my wallet away this
weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them dead in their
Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about
your wallet, if it has been
2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
3.) Trans Union : 1-800-680 7289 1-800-680 7289
4.) Social Security Administration
(fraud line): 1-800-269-0271
We pass along jokes on the Internet; we pass along
just about everything. If you are willing to pass this information along, it
could really help someone that you care
March 13, 2012
It has been
a really long day at an all day board meeting for Lutheran Women's Missionary League (LWML). The location of the meeting is
some 95 miles from home. We passed a resolution for mission grants in the amount of $75,000.
The women of the LWML
are amazing. They collect small amounts of change on a regular basis and add them all together and pretty soon, there are
thousands of dollars in our district, and almost two million at the national level. Then the money is sent all around the
world to help feed hungry children, start new churches, help church workers go to school, and a wide variety of projects that
One of the member groups, called Societies, is finishing up some 170 quilts they have been making
this winter. Another group, from my zone, has made 127 quilts. These quilts will be sent to Lutheran World Relief and shipped
to people around the world wherever they are needed.
It's a long day to meet for quarterly board meetings but
it's refreshing to partner with so many other women of faith who share a single commitment to help make the world a better
place to live in.
We had a mission pastor speak at our church last Sunday and he tells of the horrible poverty
in Central America. Did you know that there are children who do not have clothes to wear. And they eat maybe once every two
or three days?
Why aren't more people on fire with a passion to join in a partnership with churches that are working
hard in these poverty-stricken countries? These are the groups that make sure almost 100% of any money that's collected goes
right where it's needed. And much of that money is spent distributing the goods that are collected.
Pray for the
hungry and the naked children who live in squalor and poverty.
God bless you, each and every one.
March 11, 2012
the day when it feels like we've moved into another time zone -- one just to the west of us because the sun stays up longer.
My dear friend Joyce sent me this link to a video that is nothing short of adorable.
It's about a mother black bear and her three newborn cubs getting tagged in the wilds of Ontario. The commentator
is pretty funny too. Thank you, Joyce.
Here's another one from Joyce. It's about a young woman who's talking to
her grandpa about the ipad she gave him. He assures her that he's using it and knows all about the apps, etc. Watch this:
-- See, don't tell fibs.
And this comes from my cousin, Frances, in southern Texas:
How children perceive their Grandparents......
1. She was in the bathroom, putting on her makeup, under
eyes of her young granddaughter, as she'd done many times before.
After she applied her lipstick and
started to leave, the little one
said, "But Grandma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye!" I
probably never put lipstick on again without thinking about
kissing the toilet paper good-bye....
2. My young
grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday.
He asked me how old I was, and I told him, 80. My grandson was
for a moment, and then he asked, "Did you start at 1?"
3. After putting her grandchildren
to bed, a grandmother changed into
old slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she
children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience
grew thin. Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed
their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left
the room, she heard the three-year-old
say with a trembling voice,
"Who was THAT?"
4. A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter
what her own
childhood was like. "We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing
made from a tire; it hung
from a tree in our front yard. We rode our
pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods."
The little girl
was wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said,
"I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!"
5. My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you
know how you and God are alike?" I mentally
polished my halo and I
said, "No, how are we alike?'' "You're both old," he replied.
6. A little
girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's
word processor. She told him she was writing a story.
it about?" he asked.
"I don't know," she replied. "I can't read."
7. I didn't know
if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I
decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color
was. She would tell me and was always correct. It was fun for me, so I
continued. At last, she headed for the
door, saying, "Grandma, I think
you should try to figure out some of these colors yourself!"
When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept
the lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting
insects. Still, a few fireflies followed us in. Noticing them before I
did, Billy whispered, "It's no
use Grandpa. Now the mosquitoes are
coming after us with flashlights."
9. When my grandson asked me how
old I was, I teasingly replied, "I'm
not sure." "Look in your underwear, Grandpa," he advised "Mine
I'm 4 to 6."
10.. A second grader came home from school and said to her
guess what? We learned how to make babies
today." The grandmother, more than a little surprised, tried to keep
her cool. "That's interesting." she said... "How do you make babies?"
replied the girl. "You just change 'y' to 'i' and add 'es'."
11. Children's Logic: "Give me a sentence
about a public servant,"
said a teacher. The small boy wrote: "The fireman came down the ladder
The teacher took the lad aside to correct him. "Don't you
know what pregnant means?" she asked.
said the young boy confidently. 'It means carrying a child."
12. A grandfather was delivering his grandchildren
to their home one
day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the
fire truck was a Dalmatian
dog. The children started discussing the
"They use him to keep crowds back," said one child.
"No," said another. "He's just for good luck.."
A third child brought the argument to a close."They
use the dogs," she
said firmly, "to find the fire hydrants."
13. A 6-year-old was asked where
his grandma lived. "Oh," he said,
"she lives at the airport, and when we want her, we just go get her.
Then, when we're done having her visit, we take her back to the
14. Grandpa is the smartest
man on earth! He teaches me good things,
but I don't get to see him enough to get as smart as him!
Grandparents are funny, when they bend over, you hear gas leaks
and they blame their dog.
March 7, 2012
Got this earnest
prayer from a dear friend, Diane, who lives in Hidalgo:
Hi Lord, its me.* *We are getting older and
things are getting bad here.*
*Gas prices are too high, no jobs, food and heating costs too high.* *I
have taken you out of our schools, government and even* *Christmas,
but Lord I'm asking you to come back* *and re-bless
America .* *We really
need you!* *There are more of us who want you than those who don't!* *Thank
Lord,* *I Love you.* *If you agree, send it on---if not just delete.*
*Only you & the Lord will know.*
*"Life without God is** **like an unsharpened pencil - it has no point."*
As a side note, there
is a prayer group that stops to pray at 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time. The prayer is for America to return to its Christian
roots and rid Washington, D. C. of all corrupt politicians. People all over the country are joining together in this common
prayer. Join in if you can.
Last night was Ladies Aid at church. What a privilege it is to meet with other women
of like Christian values and to share God's word in a Bible Study, then our hostess for the evening, Melissa, made a wonderful
spread of fresh fruit. She also made cookies but I didn't have any. It seems that sugar has become my enemy since learning
that I have gout that settled in my lower back and my right thumb. The medicine that I now take is for people who specifically
took Cytoxan as a chemo treatment for breast cancer. So, no sugary desserts. But then, since Quint is diabetic,
Splenda has become my friend. And I can also get chocolate covered cherries from Figi's and have them shipped to me. Yummmmmmy!
It's really windy here. So bad that the windmill has blown over twice in the last day or so. I also heard that
there were 90 mph gusts in Las Vegas. Not that anybody who goes to Las Vegas goes outside to stand on the sidewalks to enjoy
the weather. I mean, they don't even have clocks in the casinos. They'd probably like it if people took their watches off,
but that's not happening much either.
Got this from both cousins, Mark and Alan, so you know it's serious
Can't eat pork,
Can't eat chicken,
Can't eat Beef, Mad cow
Can't eat eggs, Salmonella.
eat fish, heavy metal poisons in their waters.
Can't eat fruits and veggies E coli, insecticides and herbicides.
I believe that leaves Chocolate
and ice cream!!!!!!!!
Remember - - - 'STRESSED'
March 5, 2012
Got this poignant
story from cousin Mark. Enjoy! Gratitude is a acquired pleasure.Have a great day full of love and happiness.
Change Your Thinking
Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.
One man was allowed
to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain
the fluid from his lungs.
His bed was next
to the room's only window.
The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.
The men talked
for hours on end.
They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement
military service, where they had been on vacation..
Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could
sit up, he would pass
the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the
The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world
would be broadened and enlivened
by all the activity and colour of the world
The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.
Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young
lovers walked arm in arm amidst
flowers of every colour and a fine view of the city
skyline could be seen in the distance.
As the man by
the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the
other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine
this picturesque scene.
One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.
the other man could not hear the band - he could see it in his mind's eye
as the gentleman by the window portrayed it
with descriptive words.
Days, weeks and months passed.
One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring
water for their baths only to find the
lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.
She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.
As soon as it seemed appropriate,
the other man asked if he could be moved next to
the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making
sure he was
comfortable, she left him alone.
Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to
take his first look at the
real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides the bed.
It faced a blank wall.
The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had
described such wonderful things outside this window.
The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not
even see the wall.
She said, 'Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.'
is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.
Shared grief is half the sorrow, but
happiness when shared, is doubled.
And these quips from "kids in church" comes from dear friend,
Cody, in Warrensburg, MO:
A little boy was in a relative's wedding.
As he was coming down the aisle, he would
take two steps,
stop, and turn to the crowd.
While facing the crowd, he would put his hands
up like claws and roar.
So it went, step, step, ROAR, step, step, ROAR, all the way down the
As you can imagine, the crowd was near tears from laughing so hard
by the time he reached the pulpit.
When asked what he was doing, the child sniffed and said,
"I was being the Ring Bear."
Sunday in a Midwest City ,
a young child was "acting up" during the morning worship hour.
The parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew
but were losing the battle.
Finally, the father picked the little fellow up
and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out.
Just before reaching the safety of the foyer,
the little one called loudly to the congregation,
me! Pray for me!"
One particular four-year old prayed,
"And forgive us our trash baskets
as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets."
A little boy was overheard praying:
if you can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it.
I'm having a real good time like I am."
School teacher asked her little children, as they were on the way to church
service, "And why is it necessary to
be quiet in church?"
One bright little girl replied, "Because people are sleeping."
A little boy opened the big and old family Bible with fascination,
at the old pages as he turned them.
Then something fell out of the Bible.
He picked it
up and looked at it closely.
It was an old leaf from a tree that has been pressed in between the pages.
look what I found," the boy called out.
"What have you got there, dear?" his mother asked.
With astonishment in the young boy's voice he answered,
"I think it's Adam 's suit".
The preacher was wired for sound with a lapel mike,
and as he preached, he moved briskly about the platform,
the mike cord as he went.
Then he moved to one side,
getting wound up in the cord and
nearly tripping before jerking it again.
After several circles and jerks,
a little girl
in the third pew leaned toward her mother and whispered,
"If he gets loose, will he hurt us?"
old Angie , and her four-year old brother, Joel , were sitting together in
Joel giggled, sang
and talked out loud.
Finally, his big sister had had enough.
"You're not supposed to talk out loud in church."
"Why? Who's going to stop me?" Joel asked.
Angie pointed to the back of the church and said,
those two men standing by the door?
My grandson was visiting one day when he
"Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?"
polished my halo, while I asked,
"No, how are we alike?"
"You're both old," he replied.
A ten-year old, under the tutelage of her grandmother,
was becoming quite knowledgeable about the Bible.
Then, one day, she floored her grandmother by asking,
"Which Virgin was the mother
of Jesus ? The virgin Mary or the King James Virgin ?"
A Sunday school class was studying the
They were ready to discuss the last one.
teacher asked if anyone could tell her what it was.
Susie raised her hand, stood tall, and
"Thou shall not take the covers off the neighbor's wife."
March 3, 2012
your hearts in prayer for the victims of this horrible rash of tornados today. These are killer winds. In addition to fatalities
reported, there's dangers with houses being lifted off their foundations. It's a good night to stay in, be safe, and
pray that God will embrace all those people who are suffering with heavy losses. Harrisburg, in southern Illinois, was particularly
hit, it seems to me. But there are other areas, with just as deadly outbreaks. I heard on one of the news channels that this
year would be as bad as the tornado season in 1978.
We pray steadfastly, also, that our nation will return to
its Christian roots on which it was founded.
I look forward to going to church on Sunday and hearing a message
from the Gospel lesson that, at least in part, says For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and
sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
I think there are a whole bunch of people out there who have kind of postponed thinking about what
they're going to do with all this Christianity stuff. "I'll worry about all that when I get older," they seem to
Well, think of Andrew Breitbart, who now lays cold and quiet at the tender age of 43.
He was one of my favorite reads. He was the kind of journalist that Pulitzer hoped to reward for courage through the printed
word. I pray that he was okay with God before he took his last breath. I have a feeling that he was.
But what about
all the other people out there? You know the ones -- they don't want the children to pray in school. They don't want to say
the word "God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. They don't want to hear anything that sounds like Christian talk. Woe
be to those who turn their backs on God. This verse in Mark tells them exactly what God will do in retaliation. And don't
think for one minute that they can appease God with some half-witted excuse like, "I didn't mean it. You know I wasn't
serious, don't you?"
It's time to pray like you mean it. It's time to spend your days thinking about God.
Oh, you don't have to jump up out of your chair screaming "Hallalujah." But you can think about the Great and Wonderful
Creator of the Universe who allows you to take each breath throughout every day of your life. Be thankful for that.
I have always wondered about the people who want to go to heaven. Don't they realize that they will spend their time praising
and worshiping God? If they are looking forward to the time when they are able to do that, wouldn't you think they could spend
more time worshiping and praising God every day, in some way?
There are so many things a person can do to worship
God. He sees us when we are kind to others. He sees us when we are compassionate and generous. He sees us when we try with
all our heart to lead a life as free as sin as we possibly can - not that we'll ever be totally sin-free, what being human
and all. But we ought to try as best as we can to avoid temptation and sin in our lives.
God likes it when we strive
to do that.
February 29, 2012
to ask yourself --
Can you tell the difference between being tested and being tempted?
When you're tempted, it involved a sin of some sort.
Being tested is a form of discipline. Discipline makes
you grow in faith. It enriches you and tempers your faith into a tool as strong as steel.
The passage that started
all this thinking about being tempted was from the Epistle lesson a week or so ago. It's from the Book of James, and
says: Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and
he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. -- James 1:13-14
So if you feel like you're being tempted, who do you think might be the culprit?
Another easy answer
-- Satan himself.
Satan is the author of evil. Not God. God does not tempt us, Satan does. Temptations involve
sins. Testing involves love through discipline.
This notion that there is a person named Satan reared its head
out on the campaign trail a few weeks back. Santorum made the comment that "...Satan had his eye on Washington."
What a firestorm that set off. Here came the spindoctors who tried to make Santorum look like a religious kook. Until some
organization did a survey and found that 70% of Americans believe -- truly believe -- that Satan really does exist.
Remember way back in Sunday School days hearing that the best trick Satan has going for him is that he convinces people
that he does not exist. Well, that doesn't happen in the United States.
We're a Christian nation and we know he's
real. And his favorite game is Gotcha!
If you want an inkling about who Satan is, take a look at the Book of Job.
In the very first chapter, in verse 6, we read: One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord,
and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, "Where have you come from?"
Satan answered the
Lord, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."
Then follows a conversation
recorded between the Lord and Satan. So if the Lord recognizes Satan and calls him by name, who are we to even think that
he does not exist?
Rest safely in the arms of the Lord, my friends, and pray fervently for his protection from
Satan and all that is evil.
February 28, 2012
I go off in a different direction, you have to watch this video of the Daytona 500. Talk about races, burning cars, fast bumps,
and one big brewhaha. One spill took out six cars: http://news.yahoo.com/video/turnerweekendtop5-20497430/weekend-top-5-daytona-28446636.html#crsl=%252Fvideo%252Fturnerweekendtop5-20497430%252Fweekend-top-five-homestead-27337497.html
Here's a video that is precious. It's about Pastor Ed Dobson, who developed ALS. He talks about his new role as
a different kind of pastor now that he no longer has an active church. http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/18/tending-the-garden-one-person-at-a-time/
Pastor Rensner talked about how come God, who has the power to stop the storms in our lives, doesn't do that.
Pastor said that sometimes God calms the person going through the storm rather than calming the storm. And why would He do
that? His reasons are his own and they are not my ways.
I am working on a thesis of the difference between being
tested and being tempted. I hope to have it finished by this time tomorrow, so I hope you'll come back to read it.
Blessings, prayers and hugs,
February 27, 2012
This story comes from
Connie today. She says it will give you the chills....... GOOD chills. See if you agree.
A young man had been
to Wednesday Night Bible
Study. The Pastor had shared about listening to God and obeying the Lord's voice
The young man couldn't help but wonder, 'Does God still speak to people?'
After service, he went out with
some friends for coffee and pie and they discussed
the message. Several different ones talked about how God had
led them in different ways.
It was about ten o'clock when the young man started driving home. Sitting in
his car, he just began to pray, 'God...If you still speak
to people, speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to
As he drove down the main street of his town, he had the strangest thought to stop
and buy a gallon
of milk. He shook his head and said out loud, 'God is that you?' He didn't get a reply and
started on toward home. But
again, the thought, buy a gallon of milk.
The young man thought about Samuel and how he didn't recognize the voice
and how little Samuel ran to Eli. 'Okay, God, in case that is you, I will buy the milk.' It didn't seem
like too hard
a test of obedience. He could always use the milk. He stopped and purchased the
gallon of milk and
started off toward home.
As he passed Seventh Street, he again felt the urge, 'Turn Down that street.' This
is crazy he thought, and drove on past the intersection.
Again, he felt that he should turn down Seventh Street
At the next intersection, he turned back and headed down Seventh.
Half jokingly, he said out loud, 'Okay,
God, I will.'
He drove several blocks, when suddenly, he felt like he should stop He pulled over
to the curb
and looked around. He was in a semi- commercial area of town. It wasn't
the best but it wasn't the worst of neighborhoods
either. The businesses were closed and most of the houses looked dark like the people were
already in bed.
Again, he sensed something, 'Go and give the milk to the people in the house across
the street.' The young man looked
at the house. It was dark and it looked like the
people were either gone or they were already asleep. He started to open
and then sat back in the car seat.
'Lord, this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake
them up, they are going
to be mad and I will look stupid.' Again, he felt like he should go and give the
Finally, he opened the door, 'Okay God, if this is you, I will go to the door and I
will give them the milk.
If you want me to look like a crazy person, okay. I want
to be obedient. I guess that will count for something, but if
they don't answer
right away, I am out of here.'
He walked across the street and rang the bell. He could
hear some noise inside. A
man's voice yelled
out, 'Who is it? What do you want?' Then the door opened before the
young man could
The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He looked like he just got
of bed. He had a strange look on his face and he didn't seem too happy to have some
stranger standing on his
doorstep. 'What is it?'
The young man thrust out the gallon of milk, 'Here, I brought this to you.' The man
took the milk and rushed down a hallway.
Then from down the hall came a woman carrying the milk toward the kitchen.
was following her holding a baby. The baby was crying. The man had tears streaming
down his face.
The man began speaking and half crying, 'We were just praying. We had
some big bills this month and we ran out of
money. We didn't have any milk for our
baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk.'
His wife in the kitchen yelled out, 'I ask him to send an Angel with some. Are you
young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him
and put in the man's hand. He turned and
walked back toward his car and the tears
were streaming down his face.
He knew that God still answers prayers.
This is so true. Sometimes it's the simplest things that God asks us to do that
cause us, if we are obedient
to what He's asking, to be able to hear His voice
more clear than ever. Please listen, and obey ! He will bless you (and
February 25 -- 26, 2012
adding this video at the front. It's from my cousin Mark and it's a video showing an owl coming in for a landing on a security
tower. http://www.dogwork.com/owfo8/ It's unbelievable footage showing the owl "putting on the brakes," so to speak. And look at those wing maneuvers!
It's only a minute long, but fascinating.
Beautiful photograph by Paul Bunyard, set to music -- called Chasing
the Light. It's a four and a half minute respite! http://www.dogwork.com/bnpcduk8/
One of my favorite videos -- this is a dog in a contest -- apparently the judges don't give him very high marks
because he can't seem to get it right. But then, just wait until the amazing end! http://www.dogwork.com/tconmv8/
This is a video (1:40) of cranes flying over Venice, Italy. Fascinating photography of the landscape below, but
also of the cranes communicating with one another while flying: http://www.dogwork.com/crafly9/
Here's a video, also from dogworld.com that shows a little bird coming into a bluegrass festival and sitting on
the lead singer's guitar. Too funny! http://www.dogwork.com/blugrs9/
Now, before you watch this next one, please realize that dogs are not supposed to stand upright and walk, much
less dance. But here's a cute little dog doing a Paso Doble. Yes, dancing: http://www.dogwork.com/psdqwk8/
Danica Patrick crashed intot he wall at Daytona today: http://www.breitbart.tv/danica-patrick-crashes-at-daytona/
Oh dear. This video shows someone getting creamed by an oncoming traffic. Just another reason why I don't do any
road ranging during ice and snow and black ice weather: http://www.breitbart.tv/nissan-frontier-shattered-into-bits-by-oncoming-semi/
Here's a recently discovered amateur video of the shuttle that exploded. After watching it, the videographers
didn't really understand what had happened. It seemed like they thought the crash was the booster rocket separating. http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2012/02/24/vo-challenger-amateur-video.newscientist
And this final video is about a man named Omar and his seeing eye dog Salty. Omar was working on the 71st floor
of the World Trade Center when the building was hit. Watch this video of this remarkable dog rescuing and saving his best
friend, Omar: http://www.dogwork.com/arfp8/
February 24, 2012
know that 2012 is a leap year, don't you? Just thought I'd bring that up, in case you overlooked the fact that February has
29 days in it this year.
So it's Friday night here at home. It's cold outside with the wind whipping around the
corner of the house. And we're about ready to settle down to a good old mystery on Netflix streaming and Quint asks from the
kitchen, "You want popcorn with that?" Who could say no? Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks.
3-2-1 cakes for dessert. If you remember, I have a big plastic bag into which I mixed together a sugar-free yellow cake mix
and an angel food cake mix. Really mix them well. Then, whenever you want a quick little cake, you mix 3 tablespoons of this
cake mix and 2 tablespoons of water. Microwave that for 1 minute and you have this unbelievable little cake.
I got fancy, I did. I put about 1/2 tablespoon of margarine and 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar blend (with Splenda). Microwave
that for about 5 seconds until the butter is melted. Stir that up and put in 1/2 tablespoon of crushed pineapple. Then add
the mixed up 32-1 cake mix and microwave that for 1 minute. Yummmy!
I'm going to see if sliced strawberries in
the bottom of my little dish (which is about the size of a ramekin), then put the 3-2-1 mixed up cake mix and see if it passes
for a strawberry short cake. It might. Or it might be close enough to pass for a suitable substitute.
the subject, the weather here has taken a dive down to 36 degrees. This time yesterday it was almost 60 degrees. For those
of you who just joined us from the United Arab Emirates, it probably doesn't matter that much. You have heat all year round.
But you also have sand. I don't know if I could really get used to living on a sand hill. It just looks - well, dry.
But since readers are from all over the world, it's probably a curiosity for some who never experience snow. (You're not
missing much at all.)
And as a side note, I'm so glad that you liked the blog from a few days ago about the man
praying the Lord's Prayer. It's unbelievable how many emails I've gotten in favor of this prayer. And how it's made you pause
and think about what you're saying when you pray. You know, God really is right around you every minute of the day. And he
cares about you, so keep on praying.
My prayer for you is that you will be blessed with many wonderful people
and opportunities that God will put in your life today. Enjoy each and every one of them.
February 23, 2012
was Ash Wednesday service at church. It marks a time when we begin a remembrance of the death of Jesus Christ and his resurrection
three days later at Easter. It's a somber time and as I sat in church and looked around me, I saw the usual faithful worshipers.
I felt closer to them than I do at other times of the year. The imposition of ashes reminds us that we came from dust and
it is to dust that we will return. In the meantime, we are to live our lives as Christians and walk through life behaving
as if --
...as if Christ were right beside us, visibly point out pitfalls,
... as if Christ were steering
us around the misdeeds we might otherwise get ourselves into,
... as if we remember that we are never alone,
... as if we realize consciously that Christ is watching us,
... as if we remember that it is Christ who
sits at the right hand of God interceding for us on our behalf,
... as if we remember, also, that it is Christ
who will judge us when we catch up with eternity,
... as if we always remember that we are to pray to God, our
heavenly father, and we can only get there through Jesus Christ,
... as if we want more than anything to please
God and Jesus Christ,
and finally, as if we are truly sorry for all our sins.
This isn't one of the
questions that is listed as having been asked by Jesus, but sometimes, when I do really silly stuff, I have this vision of
Jesus asking, "What in the world did you do that for?" It helps me not to do things anymore that I really don't
want to do and know that I shouldn't do.
February 21, 2012
feel the earthquake this morning? It registered 4.0 on the Richter Scale. I'll have to tell Quint that it wasn't the wind
that was rattling the windows that woke him at 4:00 am, but rather, the temblor shifting around close to the New Madrid fault
line. Here's a map that shows exactly where the earthquake was: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsus/Maps/US10/32.42.-95.-85.php
But if you really want to see something, take a look see at this map of the United States -- 806 earthquakes in
the last 24 hours. California and Alaska are always feeling a lot of shaking going on.
Stay safe out there, my
Changing the subject, back to the List of 100 Questions that Jesus Asked:
Question #79 -- How
is it that you seek praise from one another and not seek the praise that comes from God? John 5:44
this question with me for a moment. Remember the last time you went to get a new outfit? You found something that you thought
would look good on you. You looked in the 3-way mirror to make sure the outfit draped across your body just the way you wanted
it to. And why is that?
Simple. When we buy something new to wear, we're thinking of what others will think of
it. Then they'll tell us how nice it looks.
We'll get praise.
But hold on here for a moment. The question
that Jesus is asking is how come you're thinking about what others think?
How come you aren't all that concerned
about what God thinks of you?
I think there might be a couple of answers to this question.
One of the
thoughts I have is that because we don't physically see God, it's sometimes hard to imagine that he's right here, right now,
in this very room, reading over your shoulder. Maybe watching you curiously to see how you get through your day. But, our
humanness sometimes fails us spiritually because we aren't always consciously thinking that God is present everywhere
at the same time.
How can that be? I don't know the answer to that. My brain can't get wrapped around that possibility,
but I know it's true because the Bible says so.
I know that after Quint and I finish our breakfast and we join
hands for our daily prayers, God is in the room with us. And I also know that it pleases God when his children talk to him.
That's what we do. We let him know what we're thankful for because he does so much for us. We wouldn't have a thread to wear
if it weren't for God's grace. Oh, I don't mean that he puts a hanger with clothes on it in our closet. But he makes provisions
for us to get the things we need as we go through our lives. And it's been like that since the day we were born.
God has always been a stellar provider. He has never failed to provide us with what we need.
By the same token,
he puts situations in our paths to see what we're going to do about them. He brings people to us to see how we're going to
react to them.
We need to always think about what we are doing so that we live our lives in ways that please God.
To me, that's a lot more important than whether someone else likes a dress I bought.
I care what God
thinks. I most definitely care what he thinks. And I hope that anything and everything I do in life tickles him. He is
not a person I ever want to be displeased with at me!
February 20, 2012
couldn't use a bit of humor in these harried political days? Got this one from my cousin Al in Virginia Beach:
female journalist heard about a very old Jewish man who had been going
to the Western Wall to pray, twice a day,
every day, for a long, long time.
So she went to check it out. She went to the
Western Wall and there he was,
walking slowly up to the holy site.
him pray and after about 45 minutes, when he turned to leave,
using a cane and moving very slowly, she approached him
for an interview.
"Pardon me, sir, I'm Rebecca Smith. What's your name?
"Morris Feinberg," he replied.
"Sir, how long have you been coming to the Western Wall and praying?"
"For about 60 years."
"60 years! That's amazing! What do you pray
"I pray for peace between the Christians, Jews and the Muslims."
"I pray for all the wars and all the hatred to stop."
"I pray for all our children to grow up safely as responsible adults and to
love their fellow man."
"I pray that politicians tell us the truth and put the interests of the people
of their own interests."
The reporter then asked, "How do you feel after
doing this for 60 years?"
"Like I'm talking to a wall."
And our good friend Joyce sends us this cost analysis of how much it costs to run a
Volt. Can you tell that Joyce is a banker by trade?
Subject: Cost to operate a Chevy Volt
Take a few
minutes to read thru this analysis. This is truly an economic failure,
until technology improves to change these costs!
This is what the Obama
Administration is pushing in his new budget! Just another "cash sink hole", from our
taxes, and huge debt!
Eric Bolling (Fox Business Channel's Follow the Money) test drove the Chevy Volt
the invitation of General Motors.
For four days in a row, the fully charged battery lasted only 25 miles
Volt switched to the reserve gasoline engine.
Eric calculated the car got 30 mpg including the
25 miles it ran on the battery.
So, the range including the 9 gallon gas tank and the 16 kwh battery is
It will take you 4 1/2 hours to drive 270 miles at 60 mph. Then add 10 hours to
charge the battery
and you have a total trip time of 14.5 hours.
In a typical road trip your average speed (including charging time)
would be 20 mph.
According to General Motors, the Volt battery hold 16 kwh
of electricity. It takes
a full 10 hours to charge a drained battery.
The cost for the electricity to charge the Volt is never mentioned
so I looked up
what I pay for electricity.
I pay approximately (it varies with amount used and the seasons)
$1.16 per kwh.
16 kwh x $1.16 per kwh = $18.56 to charge the battery.
$18.56 per charge
divided by 25 miles = $0.74 per mile to operate the Volt using the
Compare this to a similar
size car with a gasoline engine only that gets 32 mpg.
$3.19 per gallon divided by 32 mpg = $0.10 per mile.
The gasoline powered car cost about $15,000 while the Volt costs $46,000.........
So Government wants
us to pay 3 times as much, for a car that costs more that 7
times as much to run, and takes 3 times longer to drive across
- I have a question. After the battery just up and dies, how much will it cost to
destroy it? I doubt if the batteries will be allowed in landfill. I mean, if you can't even put an old, dead cell phone in
the landfill, what are you going to do with the Volt battery?
But what if you keep the Volt and decide to replace
the battery. I read somewhere a couple of years ago that the battery alone cost $25,000. Can that be right? Does anybody know?
If you do could you shoot me an email. Please.
this from my dear cousin Frances in Broaddus, Texas:
We need to show more sympathy for these people.
* They travel miles in the heat.
* They risk their lives crossing a border.
* They don't get paid enough wages.
* They do jobs that others won't do or are afraid to do.
* They live in crowded conditions among a people who speak a
* They rarely see their families, and they face adversity all day
~ every day..
I'm not talking about illegal Mexicans ~
I'm talking about our troops!
Doesn't it seem strange that so many are willing to lavish all
kinds of social benefits on illegals, but don't support
Wouldn't it be great if we took the $360,000,000,000 (that's
billion) we spend on illegals every year, and spend it on
February 17, 2012
one of the best versions of an interactive Lord's Prayer that I've ever read. It's sent to us from my dear friend
Cody in Warrensburg, MO. I do pray that it will enrich your life today and that you will think about this when you pray the
THE LORD'S PRAYER- Rather cleverly done. This is in two parts,
The prayer(in blue
type) and GOD(in red type)-in response.
It is very, very good.
Father Who Art In Heaven.
Don't interrupt me. I'm
But -- you called ME!
No, I didn't call you..
Our Father who art in Heaven.
There -- you did it again!
"Our Father who art in Heaven"
Well, here I am..
What's on your mind?
But I didn't mean anything by it.
I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day.
say the Lord's Prayer.
It makes me feel good,
Kind of like fulfilling a duty.
Okay, Hallowed be thy name .
it right there.
What do you mean by that?
"Hallowed be thy name"?
It means, it means .. . Good grief,
I don't know what it means.
in the world should I know?
It's just a part of the prayer.
By the way, what does it mean?
means honored, holy, wonderful.
Hey, that makes sense..
I never thought about
what 'hallowed' meant before.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.
Do you really mean that?
Sure, why not?
What are you doing about it?
Why, nothing, I guess.
I just think it would be kind of neat if you got
of everything down here like you have up
There. We're kinda in a mess down here you know.
Yes, I know;
But, have I got control of you?
Well, I go to church..
That isn't what I asked you.
What about your bad temper?
got a problem there, you know.
And then there's the way you spend
Your money -- all on yourself.
And what about
the kind of books you read ?
Now hold on just a minute!
Stop picking on me!
just as good as some of the rest
Of those People at church!
you were praying
For my will to be done..
If that is to happen,
It will have to start with the ones
are praying for it.
Like you -- for example ....
Oh, all right. I guess I do have some
Now that you mention it,
I could probably name some others.
I haven't thought about it very much until now,
But I really would like to cut out
some of those things.
I would like to, you know, be really free.
We'll work together -- You and ME.
I'm proud of You.
Lord, if you don't mind,
I need to finish up here.
This is taking a lot longer than it usually does.
this day, our daily bread.
You need to cut out the bread..
You're overweight as it
Hey, wait a minute! What is this?
Here I was doing my religious duty,
all of a sudden you break in
And remind me of all my hang-ups.
Praying is a dangerous
You just might get what you ask for.
Remember, you called ME -- and here I am.
too late to stop now.
Keep praying. ( pause .. . )
Well, go on.
Scared? Of what?
I know what you'll say.
Forgive us our sins,
As we forgive those who sin against us.
See? I knew it!
I knew you would bring her up!
Why, Lord, she's told
lies about me, spread stories.
She never paid back the money she owes me..
I've sworn to get even with her!
But -- your prayer --
What about your prayer?
-- mean it..
Well, at least you're honest.
But, it's quite a load carrying around all
bitterness and resentment isn't it?
Yes, but I'll feel better as soon as I get
even with her.
Boy, have I got some plans for her.
She'll wish she had never been born.
you won't feel any better.
You'll feel worse.
Revenge isn't sweet.
You know how unhappy you are --
I can change that.
You can? How?
I'll forgive you;
And the hate and the sin,
will be Ann's problem -- not yours.
You will have settled the problem
as far as you are concerned.
Oh, you know, you're right.
You always are.
And more than I want revenge,
I want to be right with You . . (sigh).
All right, all right . .
I forgive her.
How do you feel?
Well, not bad.
Not bad at all!
In fact, I feel pretty great!
You know, I don't think I'll go to bed uptight
I haven't been getting much rest, you know.
Yeah, I know.
not through with your prayer, are you?
Oh, all right.
And lead us not
but deliver us from evil.
Good! Good! I'll do that.
put yourself in a place
where you can be tempted.
What do you mean by that?
You know what I mean.
Yeah. I know..
Go ahead. Finish your prayer.
For Thine is the
and the power,
and the glory forever.
Do you know what would
bring me glory?
What would really make me happy?
No, but I'd like to know.
I want to please you now...
I've really made a mess of things.
I want to truly behave like Christ
I can see now how great that would be.
So, tell me .. . .
How do I make you happy?
February 15, 2012
a break from the questions that Jesus asked, I have to share with you that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) took Secretary (Health
and Human Services) Sebelius to task today about whether or not she had consulting with any bishops before drafting the contraceptive
order for the White House. Her response was that she had not, but assumed that the folks over at the White House must have.
Well, that wasn't quite good enough to Hatch who then made the statement that he believed all religious organizations
should be exempted from the contraception demand. (See article at: http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2012/02/15/sebelius-didnt-consult-bishops-on-contraception-deal/)
There are several layers to this argument, if you ask me. One is that of whether you believe women ought to be
able to buy contraceptives.
The other is a question of honoring all religions who are opposed to abortion and believe
that abortion is about killing an unborn child. In that event, then the "morning after pill" would make the trip
down that slippery slope.
Then there is the constitutional camp which is inhabited by people who believe that the
government has no right in tampering with freedom of religion. Forcing organizations, whether directly with religious
organizations, or imposing on the insurance companies who insure employees of religious organizations makes no difference.
The question isn't about who pays for the contraceptives -- the religious organization or its insurance company. It's about
whether the government has the right to mandate any such behavior.
Clearly there is not a lot of wiggle room with
folks who believe strongly that they have a right to hold onto their religious beliefs without interference from the government.
And yes, of course, the fed have overstepped its constitutional boundaries.
Bet this one makes it to the Supreme
February 14, 2012
question that Jesus asked is in Mark 8:12 -- Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign?
was when Jesus was meeting with the Pharisees and they wanted to test him. Guess they wanted to see if he could really perform
some good magic tricks. They asked him in verse 11 for a sign from heaven. You know that Jesus must have been a bit perturbed
because verse 12 starts out with Jesus sighing deeply.
Well, if you were the Son of God and you knew you could
move a mountain if you just wanted to, wouldn't you get just a bit exasperated with people trying to put you on the spot all
Why couldn't people just believe that Jesus was the Son of God? Would you? If you were expecting the
promised Messiah to be more, well, kingly, would you still believe a person who arrived on the scene dressed in something
that looked like a homespun robe? So he went around doing miracles. These were real miracles. They weren't magic signs that
could be explained by a slight of hand.
No, no. Jesus healed the sick. He made the lame walk. He even touched the
leper and made him clean. And he saved his best miracle to last when he raised a dead man back to life.
Not really. Because the very idea that he had brought a man back to life was used to prosecute him.
If you were reading the Galilean Daily Chronicles and there was this banner headline about a dead man walking again,
wouldn't you call to get a ticket to this man's next event?
Of course you would. And you'd probably try to get
a front row seat so that when this guy Jesus asked if anyone in the audience would like to come down to the front and ask
for anything they wanted, you'd hop on down there. What would you want? Win the lottery? Cure for your arthritis? A baby for
your barren womb? A fairy tale, drop dead gorgeous superman for a husband? A shiny new Corvette to tool around the Galilean
countryside? A big fancy yacht to troll around the Sea of Galilee, catching fish and stuff?
If you could have anything
you wanted, what kind of a sign would satisfy you that Jesus is the true Son of God. In fact, he's the only Son of God.
Jesus must have grown weary of people who had to have this proof that he was who he said he was.
think it's any different now -- 2,000+ years later? Aren't people still looking for a sign?
Can you just accept
in your hearts that Jesus is Lord? No signs are needed for those who believe.
And for those who do not believe,
there aren't enough signs in the whole world to bring the proof that they require.
It's all about faith. And believing.
February 13, 2012
my hands on a wonderful list called 100 Questions that Jesus Asked.
What a wonderful
springboard for our conversations here on this thread.
Eventually I want to go all the way through the questions
that Jesus asked. And the first one is from Matthew 6:27 -- Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your lifespan?
My recent - and I call the last two years of my life as recent -- bout with breast cancer jumps up and out of
the depths of that rusty barrel that houses my brain.
I will say that never during that entire ordeal did
I feel desperate and anxious about living or dying. That was because of a couple of reasons, not the least of which is the
verse quoted above. I know that somewhere in Jeremiah, there's a reference to the fact that God said he knew me when I was
still in my mother's womb. In another verse way back there in the Old Testament, probably from a psalm, there's a reference
to God knowing how many hairs I have on my head, and also how many days I will spend here on earth.
view those cancers for both Quint and me as God specifically not answering our prayers. I take a counter view because we have
both gone through that long, black tunnel of chemo. Radiation added for me. When we talked it through, all the way to the
core, we came to understand that God had, in fact, answered our prayer. You see, at our age, if there was to be cancer, it
was far better to get it out of the way, so to speak, before we got really old. Advanced age puts severe limitations on what
chemo you can get and what you can't tolerate. We are blessed to have gone through all that and are now in remission. In fact,
we just may be in better shape now than a lot of people who are incubating cancerous cells and don't know about it.
So, knowing that God knows all those details about my life, I have little to fear because I also know that he walks with
me through all my days.
Besides, God doesn't seem to put the same sense of desperation on dying that we humans
do. Perhaps that's because God thinks of death as the death of a soul. I figure that he's elated when a person's body dies
because those persons get to come back home to be with him in heaven. Who could cry about that?
It doesn't mean
we don't go through a grieving process when we lose our loved ones. And there might even be a few people who will be said
when my creaky old bones end up in the fiery pits of a crematorium. But I hope they will be overjoyed when death finds me
skipping through that tunnel that near-deathers describe.
After all, as Pastor Rensner says, "What are you
going to do, threaten me with heaven?"
So, no worries. Enjoy each and every little sunbeam as you travel down
the road of life. And get down on your knees and thank the good Lord above for all the blessings he has given you in this
life, right now.
February 12, 2011
Navy Seal quote
of the week
Dana Perrino ( Fox News) describing an interview she recently had with a Navy SEAL .
all the countries he had been sent to, she asked if they had to
learn several languages?
"No ma'am, we don't go there to talk."
February 9, 2012
ran over a hawk on the way home from work this afternoon. How could I ever explain how I could kill a bird on the wing! But
sure enough, the silly thing flew right in front of me about a foot higher than the hood of the car. He got real close to
the edge of the air.
That's Quint's reason for airline crashes. Planes crash when they go past the edge of the
Changing the subject, I'm making cookies for little kiddos at church. We have an after school program and
offer the kiddos a snack when they get off the bus and come into the play area with tummies that have caved in from hunger.
They get a half sandwich, a cookie and a piece of fruit. Then they go charging around the gym and burn it all off and go home
starved for supped.
I'm making cookies from a cake mix. To do that, you out two eggs into 1/3 cup oil and mix well.
Then, mix that into the dry cake mix. Makes a bit more than 2 dozen little cookies. The cookies are baked at 375 degrees for
6 - 8 minutes.
I got a confetti cake mix since little darlings adore confetti and sprinkles.
I got this beautiful story from my cousin Mark:
Tell me this one doesn't put life in perspective.
In Phoenix , Arizona , a 26-year-old mother stared down at her 6 year old son, who was
Although her heart was filled with sadness, she also had a strong feeling of determination.
Like any parent, she wanted her son to grow up and fulfill all
his dreams. Now that was no longer possible.
The leukemia would see to that. But she still wanted her son's
dream to come true.
her son's hand and asked,
'Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted to be once you grew up
Did you ever dream and wish what you would do with your life ?'
Mommy, 'I always wanted to be a
fireman when I grew up.'
Mom smiled back and said, 'Let's see if we can make your wish
Later that day she went to her local fire Department in Phoenix , Arizona, where she met Fireman
who had a heart as big as Phoenix .
She explained her son's final wish and asked if it might be possible
to give her
6 year-old son a ride around the block on a fire engine.
Fireman Bob said, 'Look, we can do better
than that. If you'll
have your son ready at seven o'clock Wednesday morning, we'll
make him an honorary
Fireman for the whole day. He can come down to the fire
station, eat with us, go out on all the fire calls,
the whole nine yards !
And if you'll give us his sizes, we'll get a real fire uniform
for him, with a real
fire hat - not a toy one with the emblem of the
Phoenix Fire Department on it, a yellow slicker
like we wear
and rubber boots.'
'They're all manufactured right here in Phoenix , so we can get them fast.'
Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy, dressed him in his uniform and escorted him from his hospital
bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck.
Billy got to sit on the back of the truck and help steer it
to the fire station. He was in heaven.
There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day and Billy
go out on all three calls.
He rode in the different fire engines, the Paramedic's' van, and
the fire chief's car. He was also videotaped for the local news program.
Having his dream come true, with
all the love and attention that was lavished upon him, so
deeply touched Billy, that he lived three months longer than
any doctor thought possible.
One night all of his vital signs began to drop dramatically and
the head nurse,
who believed in the hospice concept - that no one should die alone, began to
call the family members to the hospital.
Then she remembered the day Billy had spent as a Fireman, so
she called the Fire Chief and asked if it would
be possible to send a fireman in uniform to
the hospital to be with Billy as he made his transition..
chief replied, 'We can do better than that. We'll be there in five minutes. Will
you please do me a favor ?
When you hear the sirens screaming and see the lights flashing, will you announce
over the PA system that
there is not a fire? 'It's the department coming to see one of its finest members one more time. And will you open
the window to his
About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived at the
hospital and extended its
ladder up to Billy's third floor open window --------
climbed up the ladder into Billy's room!
With his mother's permission, they hugged him and held him and
him how much they LOVED him.
With his dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and
'Chief, am I really a fireman now?'
'Billy, you are, and The Head Chief, Jesus, is holding your hand,' the chief
With those words, Billy smiled and said, 'I know, He's been
holding my hand all day, and the angels
have been singing.'
He closed his eyes one last time.
February 8, 2012
this mountain of mud sitting at the edge of the yard. It's the residue from the sewer line repair the other day. Rather than
spread it out flat with the rest of the yard, we were told that the spring rains would pound it down so that the trench would
eventually be filled in. Sounds reasonable to me, but I think I'll get out there with a rake one of these days, all of the
same. Otherwise, I'm going to go out there in the next day or so and find a ski lift with very little people using the little
mound for their winter fun.
It got cold in the last day or so. Even had a dusting of snow. We are woefully behind
with our snowfall. According to the old wives' tale, since we had our first snowfall on the 27th of December, we can expect
27 snowfalls in total. Last night's dusting was only #4. Now, mind you, I don't mind not having 27 snowfalls. It's not like
it's a goal or something.
Oh, another thing. Changing the subject, NASA says that the oceans are not rising, but
rather, the level of water went down a bit. According to the weather/climate change/global warming gurus, weren't we told
that because of global warming, the ice sheets would be melting and we'd have so much more water in the oceans that our eastern
coast would be flooded. So how come the water level is going down? Faulty theory = flawed results. But then, just maybe because
the Russians drilled a hole in the ice sheet in Antarctica to get to an underground lake, maybe water is draining down into
the hole. Hey, it could happen!
Quint took me to lunch at Cracker Barrel today. When we were coming out to go back
to the car, we noticed that there had been a bunch of pansies in bloom before they got frosted. Now, who would plant blooming
pansies in the middle of winter? Sure enough, they got frostbit last night. I love the meatloaf at Cracker Barrel. If I close
my eyes, I can imagine that I'm back at Grandma Stubbe's boarding house in Paducah. Cracker Barrel's meatloaf tastes just
like hers. Maybe they found her recipe somewhere. It's delicious. So is their Cream of Potato Soup which is my favorite soup
And now my client has arrived for a session. I see her pulling into the driveway now.
February 6, 2012
world to be a better place? Then do something. Think about joining the huge group of volunteers in America.
this is old data, but it's the source I found when I went looking. It's a research article on volunteerism in America written
by Richard D. Young. He cited a Bureau of Labor Statistics report that says 59% of people in the United States who are 16
years old or older volunteered for an organization in some capacity. And that was for the year way back in 2001 to 2002.
that was 27.6% of the American population.
most often donate their time to religious organizations (33.9%). Second on the list is educational organizations who get 27.2%
of the volunteers. But it's the old folks who are 65 and older who donate
the most time to churches -- 45.2%.
Further, the Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies several
activities in which volunteers engage in consistently. The list below shows which activities are most predominate.
or coaching (24.4 %).
Canvassing, campaigning, or fundraising (22.9 %).
making, serving, or delivering goods (22.2 %).
● Serving on a board, committee, or
neighborhood association (16.3 %).
Providing care or transportation (12.3 %).
● Consulting or
administrative work (14.0 %). So this ties in with the Gospel lesson at church yesterday.
It's from Mark 1:29-39 and tells the story of Jesus healing Peter's mother-in-law from a fever. What's the first thing she
did when her fever went away? She got up and began to serve them.
Not because she had to, as Pastor Gillet said.
But because she wanted to.
When it comes to serving in the Kingdom of God, it's something we get to do.
We don't have to, but rather, we are allowed to serve.
In another article, again pulling data
from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we read that ... nearly 63 million Americans, slightly more than a quarter of the
population, volunteered for charities last year, providing services valued at nearly $173-billion. That’s down from
2009, when 63.4 million adults, or nearly 27 percent of the population, donated their time. The volunteer rate has not changed
significantly since 2006, hovering around 26 percent. Volunteerism reached nearly 29 percent from 2003 to 2005 and has been
as low as 20.4 percent in 1989, says a report by the Corporation for National and Community Service, which is based on annual
and monthly surveys of roughly 100,000 Americans age 16 or older, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor
What's neat about this article is an interactive map of the United States that compares the percentage
of volunteers in a state and compares it to the national average when you move your cursor over the state. http://philanthropy.com/article/Volunteerism-Holds-Steady-in/128565/
So get out there and be a good neighbor. While you're at it, volunteer to help out at your church too.
February 4, 2012
and I headed over to Culvers after closing up the junior quilting shop at church. When we started looking for a spot to sit
down at, I heard a familiar voice say, "Jane." It was the vice president of the Effingham/Shelby Zone and she invited
us to sit with her and her husband. They were just finishing up the flavor of the month (chocolate eclair) ice cream, so we
After talking about a dizzying list of favorite subjects, Chris and I then started talking about cake
recipes. I told her I was going to start visiting churches in the Zone. Tomorrow is my first outing. It's at a church where
the church council is making soup for lunch. I told her I was going to make a yellow cake with a peach pie filling and after
sharing that quick recipe with her (it's on the recipe page over there on the left), she said, "I'll tell you how to
make a cake."
She explained, first you mix a cake mix with an angel food cake mix. It can be any kind of cake
mix you want, but it has to be with an angel food cake mix.
Then, when you get those two cake mixes mixed well,
mix 3 tablespoons of the dry mix with 2 tablespoons of water and microwave for 1 minute.
She says it's easy to
remember because it's 3-2-1.
When I got home I mixed a sugar free yellow cake mix with an angel food mix that I
picked up on the way home.
Sure enough, it works! So I have this cake mix in a ziploc bag ready to make a cake
in a minute.
I even bought one of those new cans of frosting mix that Pillsbury has. It looks like a whipped cream
container where you kind of bend a plastic tip a bit and out comes the frosting.
What an amazing age we live in!
I remember when I was a little girl my grandmother would send me to the bakery to buy two layers of a yellow cake
if she didn't have time to bake a cake for a church event. And she thought that was cheating. But no one ever knew. She always
covered it with her famous 7 Minute Frosting so who would have ever been able to tell.
One of my other favorite
memories of my grandmother was her little forest of African Violet leaves. She had a big pan of sand which she kept wet. Then
she would take leaves from her African Violets and stick them in the sand. After some mysterious length of time, she'd know
when to take the leaves out because they'd have roots developed. She'd plant them in little pots and after a while, little
baby African Violets would pop their little faces up through the dirt. Eventually, she'd cut the big leaf off and put it back
in the sand to make a new generation.
I got up enough nerve to try that this year. A nurse at the oncology center
assured me that this method would work so I gave it a try. I now have a beautiful purple and another pink African Violet and
when I get a little new plant, I give them to clients who want them.
Except that I only use African Plant Food
water. That makes them bloom like happy little campers. Pretty much all the time too.
February 2, 2012
groundhog can be believed, we don't have to worry about winter weather so much. We had fog as thick as pea soup. Not only
could the rat not see his shadow, I doubt if he could see his cute little paw in front of his face. Yay! Go groundhog.
I received this from my friend Cody in Warrensburg, MO:
One of the best I've seen lately........
Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?
What if we
carried it around in our purses or pockets?
What if we flipped through it several times a day?
if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?
What if we used it to receive messages from the text?
What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?
What if we gave it to Kids as gifts?
if we used it when we traveled?
What if we used it in case of emergency?
This is something to make
you go....hmm...where is my Bible?
Oh, and one more thing.
Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to
worry about our Bible being
disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.
Makes you stop and think 'where
are my priorities? And no dropped calls!
When Jesus died on the cross, he was thinking of you!
I read another article today on the web warning about yet another scam. This one has to do with jury duty. Supposedly someone
sends you an email or calls you to let you know there's a warrant for your arrest because you didn't show up for jury duty.
After you pick yourself up off the floor and start to explain that you never got a summons to appear for jury
duty, then the most helpful scam artist at the other end of the phone asks you for your social security number and birthday
so it can be double checked against the list of warrants. Now, we aren't going to give anybody that kind of information, are
Please say you won't.
Scam artists are mean. They're usually crooks who need to go where other criminals
If you live in Illinois, you need to know that Illinois is a "do not call" state. That means if
you get an annoying telemarketing call, immediately tell the caller that you are aware that you live in a "do not call"
state and want your name taken off the list he/she is calling from. The caller has to stop the conversation immediately.
Also, there's a link on the Links page on this website to put your phones on the "Do not call list." I probably
need to do that again because I'm starting to get calls again. Putting your phone numbers on the list is not a permanent solution
but when you start to get calls again, just go back in and renew your numbers.
February 1, 2012
through the Bible at an accelerated pace in our Sunday morning adult discussion class. It's an ambitious undertaking because
we're actually going to go from Genesis to Revelation in a 10-week segment. Oh, for sure, we aren't going to do any really
in depth stopping over points. We can always go back and focus on aspects of the textbook we're using individually at a later
One of the quick points that was made in an early chapter was that Genesis 15:1 was the first time that
the term "the word of the Lord came to..."
In this particular instance, the reference was to Abraham.
He was the first man to whom the word of the Lord came. Abraham was a prophet. In this particular instanc, the word prophet
means one who receives the word of the Lord.
Don't you think it would be exciting to pick up the Bible and get
into the Word? Page after page after page of the Word brings us richness and depth to our soul. It's a blessed journey to
walk every day with the Lord.
There's mending to be done when we weep from heavy grief. Our soul yearns for healing
and it's right there, in between the covers of the Book.
There's learning that jumps off the pages with so much
history. The Bible is not a complete history of what was going on in the world. For instance, from 1250 to 1190 BC the Greeks
and Trojans were fighting the famous Trojan War. It happened. We know that from recorded history. But it's not a Bible story.
And did you know that from 1750 - 1040 BC, China's Shang Dynasty had a system of writing. They organized a bunch
of armies too.
There were earthquakes too. From 1150-950 BC, earthquakes rattled the area around Cyprus.
Accupuncture was first introduced during the Chou dynasty at 1030 BC.
For sure, there were people in other places
doing other things. Their stories were not captured in the Bible.
What the Bible does bring us is the bloodline
of Jesus all the way back to Adam and Eve. The Bible traces this lineage through the House of David, through his line of history
to a little town of Bethlehem.
There's much in the Word to sift through and think about. Absolutely no other book
in the history of mankind has had the impact as the Word of God. Nor has any one single individual, save Jesus Christ, had
as much of an impact on civilization than the Son of God who came from heaven to become flesh and blood and to live among
us. Then he died as a sacrifice on the cross for the sins of each one of us.
This month we recognize Ash Wednesday
as the beginning of the season of Lent. It's a time when we stop what we're doing and ponder the miracle of God's great love
which he so graciously gifts us with.
Let the Word of God come to you. Pick up the Bible and just hold it in your
hands. Then open it and start to read.
Prepare to be amazed.
January 31, 2012
It's hard to
believe that here in Middle Illinois, it's 58.1 degrees. Highly unusual for January 31. Only two days 'til Ground Hogs Day
and this year, do I dare say, "Who cares?"
Actually, when you think about it, it doesn't matter whether
the rat sees his shadow or not. Spring is six weeks away no matter what. Just count the days on the calendar.
I left you last night I was talking about the bad rap that controlling and manipulating people have gotten over the years.
We've put a negative connotation onto those two words when, in fact, they can be life-saving.
I mentioned that
the reason people are controlling is because they want life to be predictable. And who doesn't want that?
we're asking for trouble in trying to control people, places and events that we don't have any business messing with. There's
all kinds of attempts at controlling that could even land you in jail. For instance, if you forged someone's signature because
you wanted to control your ability to get out of debt so you think stealing someone's identity and/or money is acceptable.
That's not even close to be included in this discussion.
What you can control, though, is your
behavior. How you react to events and people in your life can be a healthy way to control your environment.
for instance, who smile and giggle at you make it awfully easy and heartwarming to pick them up and cuddle them. They've learned
at a very early age that positive behaviors get more favorable attention from the big people in their lives. In a small way,
they've figured out how to control someone to come over and pick them up.
I remember when my daughter and her husband
were trying to get back to Los Angeles when, for some reason, their flight was abruptly cancelled. No new flights were
scheduled at that airline. So she went over to another airline and said to an already overstressed service attendant that
she realized the burden that this lady was under and she certainly didn't want to push her for help, but she was hoping ever
so much if there was anything that she could do to get them on a plane. She engaged the lady in a few light moments and the
next thing you know, she and her husband were on a flight, with a "Thank you so much. You are a lifesaver." And
off the went to the other end of the airport where the other airline's terminal was.
She learned when she was
a little girl that when you're reasonable, you're more able to operate on your environment and more often than not, get the
results you want.
Call it whatever you want, but being pleasant will get you farther along than being pushy and
ignorant and belligerent and demanding.
When you wake up in the morning, look at the daylight and say, "Today
is going to be a great day. I'm going to have some adventures and come in contact with people I enjoy being with." Then
get up, get dressed, and put your very best smile on your face as you out to operate on your environment. Make things happen.
But in a pleasant way that shows people you care about them.
January 30, 2012
in between clients right now, so this will be a bit brief. I'll finish my thought tomorrow in a bit more detail.
What I want to discuss before the thought goes too far away is this whole idea that controllingness and manipulation is
a bad thing. I say -- not necessarily.
The reason we need to control or manipulate things is to make life more
predictable. We all need predictability in our lives. So the question really wraps itself around why we feel insecure when
our lives are not predictable.
Jean Piaget, the psychological guru who developed the school of cognitive development,
says we all learn how to "operate" on our environment and the people in it.
It does not make you a bad
More about this after I've had a good night's rest.
About the time I think there's not
much new under the sun, this comes to my email. It's from Linda over in Lawrenceville. Thank you, Linda!
Monday Morning Message
This is SIMPLY AWESOME! I've never seen this
before! Whoever put The Resume
of Jesus Christ together is surely a blessing to us all! Please share it!
sentence says it all... Send this resume to everyone you know, you
never know who may have an opening! Powerful!
Have a blessed day!
of Jesus Christ
Address: Ephesians 1:20
Phone: Romans 10:13
Website: The Bible . Keywords: Christ, Lord, Savior and
My name is Jesus -The Christ. Many call me Lord! I've sent you my
because I'm seeking the top management position in your heart. Please
consider my accomplishments as set
forth in my resume.
I founded the
earth and established the heavens, (See Proverbs 3:19 )
I formed man from
the dust of the ground, (See Genesis 2:7 )
I breathed into man the breath
of life, (See Genesis 2:7 )
I redeemed man from the curse of the law, (See
Gal at ians 3:13 )
The blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant comes upon your
life through me,
(See Galatians 3:14 )
only had one employer, (See Luke 2:49 ) .
I've never been tardy, absent, disobedient,
slothful or disrespectful.
My employer has nothing but rave reviews for me,
(See Matthew 3:15 -17 )
Skills Work Experiences
of my skills and work experiences include: empowering the poor to be
poor no more, healing the brokenhearted, setting
the captives free, healing
the sick, restoring sight to the blind and setting at liberty them that are
(See Luke 4:18 ) .
I am a Wonderful Counselor, (See Isaiah 9:6 ) . People
who listen to me
shall dwell safely and shall not fear evil, (See Proverbs 1:33 ) .
Most importantly, I have the authority, ability and power to cleanse you of
your sins, (See I John 1:7-9 )
I encompass the entire breadth and length of knowledge, wisdom
understanding, (See Proverbs 2:6 ) .
In me are hid all of the treasures
of wisdom and knowledge, (See Colossians
2:3 ) .
My Word is so powerful;
it has been described as being a lamp unto your feet
and a light unto your path, (See Psalms 119:105 ) .
I can even tell you all of the secrets of your heart, (See Psalms 44:21 ) .
I was an active participant in the greatest Summit Meeting
of all times,
(See Genesis 1:26 ) .
I laid down my life so that you may
live, (See II Corinthians 5:15 ) .
I defeated the arch enemy of God and mankind
and made a show of them openly,
(See Colossians 2:15 ) .
fed the poor, healed the sick and raised the dead!
There are many more major
accomplishments, too many to mention here. You can
read them on my website, which is located at : www dot - the BIBLE.
don't need an Internet connection or computer to access my website.
Believers and followers worldwide will testify to my divine healing,
deliverance, miracles, restoration and supernatural guidance.
In Summ at ion
Now that you've
read my resume, I'm confident that I'm the only candidate
uniquely qualified to fill this vital position in your heart.
I will properly direct your paths, (See Proverbs 3:5-6 ) , and lead you into
everlasting life, (See
John 6:47 ) . When can I start? Time is of the
essence, (See Hebrews 3:15 ) .
Send this resume to everyone you know,
you never know who may have an opening!
Thanks for your help.
September 26, 2012
one-liners from friend Cody in Warrensburg, Missouri:
Don't let your worries get the best of you;
Moses started out as a basket case.
Some people are kind, polite, and sweet-spirited
you try to sit in their pews..
Many folks want to serve God,
But only as
It is easier to preach ten sermons
Than it is to live one.
The good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose,
But mosquitoes come close.
When you get to your wit's end,
You'll find God lives there.
People are funny;
They want the Front of the bus,
the Middle of the road,
And Back of the church.
Opportunity may knock once,
But temptation bangs on the front door forever.
Quit griping about your church;
If it was perfect, you couldn't belong.
If a church wants a better pastor,
It only needs to pray for the one it has ..
God Himself doesn't propose to judge a man until
he is dead. So why should you?
Some minds are like concrete
Thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
starts with a smile.
don't know why some people change churches;
does it make
which one you stay home from?
lot of church members singing 'Standing
on the Promises'
Are just sitting on the premises.
Be ye fishers of men.
You catch 'em - He'll clean 'em.
Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.
Don't put a question mark where God put a period.
fruits create many jams.
God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
God grades on the cross, not the curve.
But probably prefers 'fruits of the spirit' over
promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.
who angers you, controls
If God is your Co-pilot, swap seats!
Don't give God instructions, just report for duty!
The task ahead
of us is never as
great as the Power behind us.
Will of God never takes
you to where the
Grace of God will not protect
The message changes us.
You can tell how big a person is
it takes to discourage him.
The best mathematical equation I have ever seen:
+ 3 nails = 4 given .
Do you think the US Navy would ever name a ship after an army guy, even if he
is a Green Beret? Well, if your name is Roy Benavidez, it would. Benavidez got the Medal of Honor too. You have to see his
story to believe it. This comes from cousin Mark: http://biggeekdad.com/2010/01/tango-mike-mike/
Oh my goodness - what fun! This letter from a New Orleans attorney provides, in addition to a good
argument, a bit of history at the same time. Thank you, Mark:
You have to love this lawyer.......
Part of rebuilding New Orleans caused residents often to be challenged with the task
of tracing home titles
back potentially hundreds of years. With a community rich
with history stretching back over two centuries, houses have
been passed along
through generations of family, sometimes making it quite difficult to establish
a great letter an attorney wrote to the FHA on behalf of a client:
A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for
a client. He was told the loan would be
granted if he could prove satisfactory title to a parcel of property being offered
as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the lawyer
three months to track down. After
sending the information to the FHA, he received
the following reply:
(Actual reply from FHA):
review of your letter adjoining your client's loan application, we note that
the request is supported by an Abstract
of Title. While we compliment the able
manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point
that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to 1803.
Before final approval can
be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back
to its origin."
Annoyed, the lawyer responded
"Your letter regarding title in Case No.189156 has been received.
I note that you
wish to have title extended further than the 206 years covered by the present
application. I was
unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly
those working in the property area, would not know that
Louisiana was purchased by
the United States from France, in 1803 the year of origin identified in our
For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the
land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France,
which had acquired it by
Right of Conquest from Spain. The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of
made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had
been granted the privilege of seeking a new
route to India by the Spanish monarch,
The good Queen Isabella, being a pious woman and almost
as careful about titles as
the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she sold
jewels to finance Columbus's expedition...Now the Pope, as I'm sure you may
know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the
Son of God, and God, it is commonly
accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God
also made that part of the world called Louisiana. God, therefore, would be the
owner of origin and His origins date
back to before the beginning of time, the world
as we know it, and the FHA. I hope you find God's original claim to be
Now, may we have our loan?"
The loan was immediately approved.
September 24, 2012
I do another thing, I want to share a link with you from a friend of mine. It's an outstanding vocalist, a ten year old young
lady named Jackie Evancho. You know how I love to watch and hear people who excel at anything, regardless of their age. Just
listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foUrBztgzZA She was on America's Got Talent, and boy does she!
Changing the subject, today was the day when one of those
mega-mega-zoom-zooms arrived from our sun to lay havoc with the Earth's magnetic fields. Even Delta Airlines re-routed some
of its flights to dodge the solar winds from the Coronal Mass Eruption. http://www.space.com/12581-stunning-photos-solar-storms-flares-sun-weather.html
Wow! The northern lights must have danced quite a little Texas Two Step.
Now, on to other matters of
some import. It's all about retraining your communications ability so that you don't fall victim to people who want to get
and keep you on the defense.
In the first place, don't think you have to jump in and answer someone who demands
an immediate answer. No no no. Take a deep breath and give yourself a bit of time to send a response back over the fence,
so to speak.
Yes, it's more than okay to answer a question with a question. In fact, it's how you get out of all
those defense-intended maneuvers that are being shot at you. You simply do not have to answer with all that immediacy.
For instance, when someone says to you, "Why don't you want to talk to me?"
Your response could
be, "About what?"
Or, "Why didn't you call me?"
"Was I supposed to?"
"Who said that?"
Slow down a bit and give yourself time to frame
Try it. It will take some time to get in the habit of allowing yourself to proceed slowly. In the
long-run, it will help you set your boundaries and maintaining them. Especially if you get the inkling that someone is trying
to invade your peace of mind by demanding that you defend yourself.
And how can you recognize defense maneuvers?
Aside from your gut reaction, densive maneuvers usually start with the word "Why."
are not part of polite conversation. The intent is for one person to try to get and keep the upper hand over someone else.
September 23, 2010
is one of those off the beaten path pieces of information that you may not have known. I didn't either until today's issue
of American Profile arrived.
The there it was on Page 12. Yet another reason that Chicago can claim to
be a winner at something.
The Field Museum in Chicago has won the 2011 America's Best Restroom Award.
So what, you may ask, does a "best restroom" have going for it that would beat out other competitors? Well, for
starters, it has little people potties. And there's a nursing room complete with a sofa in it.
So congrats, Chicago.
'Nuff said about that.
Now it's official. Quint is in remission from his chronic lymphocytic/leukemia. We
made our trip to the oncologist today and learned that the results of the CT scan he had a couple of weeks ago show that the
lymph nodes have returned to normal. Thank you for answered prayers. We're both now on the once-in-three-months regimen. I
did have a new medication to the list of what the doctor has in my file. That's Allupurinol. So when I told him, he said,
"Oh, you've got gouty athritis."
Yep. That's me. The medication is specifically for people who has been
given Cytoxa for chemo with breast cancer.
But then I found out that eating cherries -- only 6 a day -- will help
out a lot. Sure enough, we found cherries in the produce aisle. Fresh from Chile. They are delicious. After only a week of
cherry snacks, I've seen an improvement. I can now bend my thumb with no pain at all. That's the only place, plus my back,
that seems to be bothered. Oh, it's just a nuisance. Nothing fatal. I'll take nuisances.
January 20, 2012
just jumping up and down for joy watching those pink icy, wintry mix patches float by on the weather map. And up north, oh
my goodness. I remember those days when a six inch snowfall was kind of sort of ordinary.
We do not miss it.
Here is a link to a beautiful young girl who is a prodigy -- Akiane Kramarik. She has been painting since
she was very young, age 4. Her paintings are incredible. And thanks to friends in Wichita, John and Sherre for the link: http://www.shangralafamilyfun.com/prodigy.html
Here's a link to Gene Simmons of KISS performing for the troops: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=5MtdIO23MKM Makes me want to stand up and march around the dining room. Thanks, Mark, for sharing.
January 20, 2012
just jumping up and down for joy watching those pink icy, wintry mix patches float by on the weather map. And up north, oh
my goodness. I remember those days when a six inch snowfall was kind of sort of ordinary.
We do not miss it.
Here is a link to a beautiful young girl who is a prodigy -- Akiane Kramarik. She has been painting since
she was very young, age 4. Her paintings are incredible. And thanks to friends in Wichita, John and Sherre for the link: http://www.shangralafamilyfun.com/prodigy.html
January 18, 2012
so here's my ignorance showing. I don't know where either of these teams are from -- Trinity and Millsap -- but this link
that my cousins Al and Mark sent to me shows one of the most phenomenal football plays I have ever seen in all my born
Talk about teamwork! This one play won the game. Wow!
And Mark sends these tips too:
1. I think part of a best friend's job should be toimmediately clear your computer
history if you die.
Nothing sucks more than that moment during an
argument when you realize you're wrong.
3. I totally take
back all those times I didn't want to
nap when I was younger.
4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.
5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
6. Was learning cursive really necessary?
7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know
how to get out of my neighborhood.
I especially like #7.
As for the second point, I'll have to see if Quint can even remember a time when
he was wrong. About anything. ha ha
Me? I try to keep my mouth shut unless I know pretty much what the answer is.
Reminds me of a fella in grad school who had a most unique form of discipline. He says it's more effective than time
outs and has been using it since his kiddos were real little. He makes them sit down so that he can tell them the entire
history of slavery. All total, it takes about 45 minutes.
January 17, 2012
from 61 degrees this morning to a cool 28 now. There's a raw wind blowing that makes it feel like 2 zillion below zero.
Thank goodness Ground Hogs Day is only weeks away. That's the day I first celebrate spring.
when I was a little girl the teacher would pass around those mimeographed pictures for our class to color. After I became
an adult, I realized that the ground hog is nothing but a big rodent and the whole thing used up all my brown color crayons.
My irises did die back again though. Poor little things. I can hear them shivering under their little
dirt shoes. I have a huge variety of colors. Some are yellow, a peach color that's really a double. Looks pretty and
frilly. Various shades of purple, one almost black. And finally a pink iris. I like irises. They remind me of Vincent Van
Gogh. He painted irises for the whole year that he was in the asylum. People sometimes comment about how they must have been
Van Gogh's favorite flower. The truth is, they were the only flower planted at the asylum. So of course he painted irises.
What else were there? Besides, by that time he was probably tired of doing self-portraits, being one ear shy of having a full
face and all.
Thank you for all your "as if" comments. It was very interesting to hear about how you
are using the same concept. Actually it's little more than positive thinking. But it works. People who are negative get dumped
on a lot. They aren't any fun and they suck all the air out of relationships, out of the sky and out of their hearts. So lighten
up everybody and live your lives as if you are the successful person you want to be!
January 16, 2012
Live your life as
It's a Biblical concept. Believe you will get what you pray for, and it is yours, we are promised.
It's the underlying principle of the best-seller The Secret.
So let's all put a whole bunch of
positive energy out there. The idea is that if you send positive energy out from yourself, it will come back to you.
That's where you embrace the idea that you'll do better in life if you live your life as if.
married couples who live their lives as if can somehow keep a vibrancy alive in their relationship. Remember
those days when you tried to do all the thoughtful, courteous things you could to attract this handsome guy, or gorgeous lady,
into your life? If you're going to be late, do you call and let somebody know you're being detained? If you're living your
life as if, then you're going to do such thoughtful things like making a call.
Or how about getting that
dream job? What happens when you are sitting in your cubicle doing some grunt project and wishing the clock would advance
a few hours so you could get out of there? Well, if you're living your life as if you'd just gotten into an interview
and were trying to convince a prospective boss that you really wanted the job, you'd go ahead and do the best you could do,
even if every day isn't always exciting and creatively challenging.
Or how about parenting. Remember those days
when you couldn't wait for Little Baby Ten Toes to arrive? Live your life as if those days beckon you and you back
to the days when you promised yourself that you'd be the best parent you possibly could be to the new baby yet to be born.
Living as if will help you get through long, fright-filled nights when you're waiting for an errant teenage to wander
on back home.
And most of all, live your life as if Christ were headed this way from the other side of
the universe and he is just about ready to come down out of the clouds. Living your life as if he were just about
here just may change your life choices.
Good luck with that. Think about ways you could live your life as if.
January 13, 2012
Yes, we got the snow. Not
much. Just a couple of inches. Then it stopped for a few hours. I reminded Quint that when the snow started up again, it counted
as a new snow. At least for my reckoning. He doesn't have to count the snows separately if he doesn't want to. It's just that
if you don't, you end up with some extra snowfalls anticipated by the end of the season.
Yesterday I saw a red
fox loping along across the neighbor's yard across the street. At first I thought it was a dog, but then, that tail is a giveaway.
Red fox it was. Pretty good sized one too. We have some woods behind our house. Figure he lives back in there with the deer
who come out every once in a while looking for good chow, like when the neighbor's beans are about ready to pick. I told her
to get a bottle of Liquid Fence at the hardware store, last year. It works. It's kept deer, squirrels and rabbits away from
my garden goodies ever since I planted a garden down here. Not too cheap, but it does the trick. You spray around the perimeter
of the garden, not on the veggies. A quart bottle lasts most of the season.
It even works on those naughty dogs
who like to hike up their legs and take a leak on my rose bush out front. Actually they're probably marking their territory.
Doesn't matter, me and my Liquid Fence go out there and give the bush a squirt where the dogs squirted. They don't come back
so much. Nothing to reclaim if they can't get a whiff of their aroma.
Tomorrow I'm going to my first meeting of
the Christian Writers Group here in town. Looking forward to meeting others who are plying their craft too.
anxious to see if anyone else uses what I call the Ernest Hemingway approach -- you know, three to four word sentences. He
was a master at it and I figured if he made it work, so could I. Problem is, my spell checker does not like fragmented sentences.
But hey, that's the way people talk. So I say I write "conversationally." ha!
Oh, changing the subject.
What do you think the stock markets are going to do on Monday morning, now that Standard and Poors has downgraded the financial
houses of Yerp? France and Austria lost their AAA ratings. A total of 15 European nations' ratings were cutting in the
S&P slash and burn come-uppance move. One of these days, the US is going to get downgraded again if we don't get a grip
You can't spend all your money!
I watched one of those news interview programs, maybe
a Jay Leno man on the street. Not sure. Anyway, the commentator was asking the people where they thought money came from.
One lady said she thought the president printed the money in the basement of the White House. Unfortunately, she was serious.
She even knew who the president was.
God said something about wasting the blessings He gives us. We'd better all
listen up and pay attention, folks.
January 11, 2011
glad that Netflix survived the stupidest marketing debacle yet -- raising money on top of money by doing a double tier charge
system. Never could figure out what they were going to charge so we canceled everything but the streatming, which we used
mostly anyway. We do get one video still, though. What we have both come to really like is the video of a fireplace burning.
That's all it is. Just a fireplace burning. It makes the living room seem warm and cozy. Okay, so it doesn't make the room
actually warm, but the crackling fire and licking flames do okay by me.
Just in time, too, for a winter storm heading
our way. I fear that this one isn't going to miss us. We might get several inches out of it. It's heading SSE out of Iowa
and looks to cut a big swath across Illinois as it heads east. I guess that's the end of our 40 degree winters.
well, it was nice while it lasted.
Now, on to Groundhog's Day which is February 2. Somehow I don't think the little
groundhog is going to be a harbinger of spring. This is going to be one of those winters where it's going to be snowing for
Easter, I'll bet. When the girls were little tykes I remember them hopping through snow on the way to the church on Easter
Sunday. Didn't do their little patent leather slippers any good.
Not much news going on except politics, in case
you haven't noticed. Politics in the US has become a mult-billion dollar business. So the ads and speeches and debates and
spin doctoring are going to continue until November.
One good thing did come out of the Supreme Court today. Believe
it or not, the justices reaches a unanimous decision that says churches can hire people of their own choice - whether it's
a priest, pastor, rabbi, or imam. The supremes said the government had to "butt out" in so many words.
Well, it's about time.
And my cousin Frances in Texas says the jonquils are sprouting and the bluebells are really
thick, though not blooming just yet.
I will add that my irises are totally confused. I have cut them back twice
now and could cut them back again but I'm not gonna. If they decide to bloom when it snows, I'll take a photo for posterity.
And with that, no matter where you are, please drive carefully. I know that some parts of the midwest are supposed
to get 10" of snow or more, but the rest of us can expect 1 to 2 inches of the white stuff. I don't care if we only get
one inch of snow. If it's sitting on icy pavement, it can still be deadly.
Prayers for safety for all of you.
January 9, 2012
Had he lived,
today would have been my brother, Allison's, 67th birthday. His middle name was Wallace, probably named for some long lost
relative I've never heard of. So we called him A.W. because that's what people in the south do. There's usually at least one
first degree relative identified only by initials. So wherever you are, A.W., I hope you're enjoying the choirs of angels
and that at the last moments on your deathbed you begged forgiveness for a life filled with sins. I suspect that you did get
that idea as you lay dying of lung cancer. But I don't know that. I just pray that you did because I would love to see you
Changing the subject, I have received more than quite a few emails about this Mayan thing and what's
going to happen at the end of 2012.
In the first place, the Bible reference to the end of the world is very clear
about who knows what. I believe it's in Revelation where the verse says that no one knows when the world will end except the
Father. Even His Son, Jesus Christ, does not have that information.
Yep. It says so in the Bible. Look it up.
Or if you don't have a Bible with a good commentary that can point you to the verse, go to www.ask..com and type in a question like, "Where in the Bible does it say ............................................"
You'll get a reference.
That's exactly what I did this evening before I started this writing. I knew that somewhere
in the Bible, there was an answer to some prophet who asked God how he would end the world the "next time" since
he'd promised in a covenant after the flood that he would never destroy the population with a flood again. Then he put a rainbow
in the sky. To this day, when I see a rainbow, I am reminded of God's promise not to send a flood again.
about this point that the Mayans supposedly thought the world was going to end? Did they actually say that? Not really, unless
you interpret their writings to fit into that concept. But what if it'd the Mayan calendar, not the world, that is supposed
to end in December 2012? After all, we have Bible texts that say only the Father knows. If He didn't get around to telling
His much beloved Son, Jesus Christ, do you really believe He would have told some Indians out there on the Yucatan Peninsula.
So what did God tell the prophet?
In the New International Reader's Version, in Hebrews 12, we
25 Be sure that you don't say no to the One who speaks. People did not escape when they said
no to the One who warned them on earth. And what if we turn away from the One who warns us from heaven? How much less will
26 At that time his voice shook the earth. But now
he has promised, "Once more I will shake the earth. I will also shake the heavens."—(Haggai 2:6)
27 The words "once more" point out that what can be shaken can be taken away. I'm talking
about created things. Then what can't be shaken will remain.
We are receiving a kingdom that can't be shaken. So let us be thankful. Then we can worship God in a way that pleases him.
We will worship him with deep respect and wonder. 29 Our "God is like a fire that burns everything
There are also references to
God shaking the earth in Psalm 115:3 and Haggai 2:6.
I am reminded of the reference in Verse 28 that "...we
can worship God in a way that pleases him." That pretty much takes care of people who say they don't go to church because
they believe they can worship God in a forest, or somewhere else. In fact, God tells us that he wants us to meet in assembly
with fellow believers.
So get up on the Sabbath, get dressed and make your way to church where you can "assemble"
with "fellow believers." Just do it. Don't say "no" to God.
And then there's
this Tebow guy. Don't you love him?! Over the weekend he rushed 316 yards. That was the accumulated passes he threw and I
think he ran the ball some too. When he heard the stats broadcast with his last winning throw of the day that he was responsible
for 316 yards that won the game for the Denver Broncos, what does he do? Did he swell up and sing, "How great I am?"
Not on your life. He dropped to his knee and thanked God for his blessings. He later explained that when he heard that,
all he could think of was John 3:16.
January 7, 2012
I'm stuck at the weight
where I've plateaued so Quint and I headed for the gym today. That's how you get off those plateaus - either drastically cut
back on calories or step up the exercise.
Well, since our life is pretty sedentary as it is, just walking out
the door to get intot he car is an improvement on the sedentary lifestyle. So, since we're Silver Sneakers on our Humana insurance,
we headed for the gym where we used to go faithfully before all this cancer nonsense started. We walked on the treadmill for
a big fat 20 minutes. We got all the way up to a 27 minute mile. Then we did some work on the strength training machines.
I got on the machine that works the hamstrings. I personally think my hamstrings have completely atrophied, but that could
be just a bit hyperbolic. Truth is, I don't like needing to hang onto something just to stand up, for crying out loud.
Okay, so I don't expect to jump up out of my seat, but I would like to look less like an invalid. I'll work up to
walking for an hour, or get up to five miles. I remember when I was a Girl Scout leader I used to go on five mile hikes with
frequency. But then, those were called "all day hikes" for Brownies.
Oh well, we're expecting it to
take some little while to get some semblance of stamina back.
On our way home, we stopped at Walgreens where I
got my flu shot. The doctor only had one left when we were there for our last checkup, so Quint got it.
stocked up on sugar free candy. Russell Stover is my friend!
Changing the subject, I can always rely on my cousin
Mark to send the Darwin Awards for the previous year. And here they are:
THE 2011 DARWIN AWARDS
You've been waiting for them with bated breath, so without further ado, here are the
2011 Darwin Awards:
In Detroit , a 41-year-old man got stuck and drowned in two feet of water after
head first through an 18-inch-wide sewer grate to retrieve his car keys.
San Francisco stockbroker, who "totally zoned when he ran",
accidentally jogged off a 100-foot high cliff on
his daily run.
While at the beach, Daniel Jones, 21, dug an 8 foot hole for protection
wind and had been sitting in a beach chair at the bottom, when it collapsed, burying
him beneath 5 feet
of sand. People on the beach used their hands and shovels trying
to get him out but could not reach him. It took rescue
workers using heavy equipment
almost an hour to free him. Jones was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Santiago Alvarado, 24, was killed as he fell through the ceiling of a bicycle shop
he was burglarizing.
Death was caused when the long flashlight he had placed in his
mouth to keep his hands free rammed into the base of his
skull as he hit the floor.
Sylvester Briddell, Jr., 26, was killed as he won a
bet with friends who said he
would not put a revolver loaded with four bullets into his mouth and pull the
After stepping around a marked police patrol car parked at the front door, a man
walked into H&J Leather & Firearms intent on robbing the store. The shop was full of
customers and a uniformed
officer was standing at the counter. Upon seeing the
officer, the would-be robber announced a hold-up and fired a few
wild shots from a
The officer and a clerk promptly returned fire, and several customers also
their guns and fired. The robber was pronounced dead at the scene by Paramedics.
Crime scene investigators
located 47 expended cartridge cases in the shop. The
subsequent autopsy revealed 23 gunshot wounds. Ballistics identified
rounds from 7
different weapons. No one else was hurt.
47, and his wife Bonnie were bored just driving around at 2 A.M. so
they lit a quarter stick of dynamite to toss out
the window to see what would
happen. Apparently they failed to notice that the window was closed.
Kerry Bingham had been drinking with several friends when one of them said they knew
a person who had
bungee-jumped from a local bridge in the middle of traffic. The
conversation grew more excited, and at least 10 men trooped
along the walkway of the
bridge at 4:30 AM. Upon arrival at the midpoint of the bridge, they discovered that
one had brought a bungee rope. Bingham, who had continued drinking, volunteered
and pointed out that a coil of lineman's
cable lay nearby. They secured one end
around Bingham's leg and then tied the other to the bridge. His fall lasted 40
before the cable tightened and tore his foot off at the ankle. He miraculously
survived his fall into the icy
water and was rescued by two nearby fishermen.
Bingham's foot was never located.
AND THE WINNER IS....
Zookeeper Friedrich Riesfeldt ( Paderborn , Germany ) fed his constipated elephant
22 doses of animal laxative
and more than a bushel of berries, figs and prunes
before the plugged-up pachyderm finally got relief. Investigators
Friedrich, 46, was attempting to give the ailing elephant an olive oil enema when
the relieved beast
The sheer force of the elephant's unexpected defecation knocked Mr Riesfeldt to the
he struck his head on a rock as the elephant continued to evacuate 200
pounds of dung on top of him. It seems to be just
one of those freak accidents.
January 9, 2012
lived, today would have been my brother, Allison's, 67th birthday. His middle name was Wallace, probably named for some long
lost relative I've never heard of. So we called him A.W. because that's what people in the south do. There's usually at least
one first degree relative identified only by initials. So wherever you are, A.W., I hope you're enjoying the choirs of angels
and that at the last moments on your deathbed you begged forgiveness for a life filled with sins. I suspect that you did get
that idea as you lay dying of lung cancer. But I don't know that. I just pray that you did because I would love to see you
Changing the subject, I have received more than quite a few emails about this Mayan thing and what's
going to happen at the end of 2012.
In the first place, the Bible reference to the end of the world is very clear
about who knows what. I believe it's in Revelation where the verse says that no one knows when the world will end except the
Father. Even His Son, Jesus Christ, does not have that information.
Yep. It says so in the Bible. Look it up.
Or if you don't have a Bible with a good commentary that can point you to the verse, go to www.ask..com and type in a question like, "Where in the Bible does it say ............................................"
You'll get a reference.
That's exactly what I did this evening before I started this writing. I knew that somewhere
in the Bible, there was an answer to some prophet who asked God how he would end the world the "next time" since
he'd promised in a covenant after the flood that he would never destroy the population with a flood again. Then he put
a rainbow in the sky. To this day, when I see a rainbow, I am reminded of God's promise not to send a flood again.
So what did God tell the prophet?
In the New International Reader's Version, we find:
Be sure that you don't say no to the One who speaks. People did not escape when they said no to the One who warned them on
earth. And what if we turn away from the One who warns us from heaven? How much less will we escape!
26 At that time his voice shook the earth. But now he has promised, "Once more I will shake the
earth. I will also shake the heavens."—(Haggai 2:6) 27 The words "once
more" point out that what can be shaken can be taken away. I'm talking about created things. Then what can't be shaken
28 We are receiving a kingdom that can't be shaken.
So let us be thankful. Then we can worship God in a way that pleases him. We will worship him with deep respect and wonder.
29 Our "God is like a fire that burns everything up."—(Deuteronomy 4:24)
January 4, 2011
this could be the beginning of a developing article about recognizing saboteurs within an organization. You know -- they're
the ones we refer to as alligators. Every organization has them. And they show their true colors more prominently than you
Here's an old maxim as you start your new year: If you want people to like you, you have to make yourself
That takes care of the bossy ones. People run from these guys. They sit in their chairs and issue edicts
and "fetch orders." "Get me this," or "get me that" seems to be their motto. You don't see these
people surrounded by a big crowd of people, do you? Organizations are full of these little chiefs.
So what can
you do to make people like you? Easy. If you want something, go get it yourself. That's for starters. The world does not raise
citizens who wait for you to beckon them.
That is, unless you're a politician or a monarch, or something that
gives your blue-blooded attitude the self-imposed right to sit on a chair and make demands.
Tied to likability
is another maxim: Good leaders make good followers. You can spot the good leaders in your organization by looking around to
see who the workers are. They're the ones who make the good leaders. The people who don't want to do any real work in a group
are the same ones who will keep the organization at the status quo. No growth. They say, "I liked it better when we were
smaller." All too often, these little-minded people have a secret agenda of their own. They seldom do anything to help
the organization grow. Does the definition of passive aggressive come to mind?
Just remember, aggression
is always a hostile act.
And passive aggression is disguised as sabotage. Each and every time. Passive aggressive
people are on a perpetual search for power. And what do they want the most? Whatever strength you've got. They're
trying to run a little micro counter-culture in your organization.
But there's good news. You reward (reinforce)
the behavior you want to continue. That's behavior modification rule #1. If you find yourself surrounded by people who
don't share your values, then for your own sense of well-being, find another venue. There are plenty of organizations and
opportunities out there in this big, wide wonderful world that welcome hard workers.
It's even Biblical to shake
the dust from your sandals and walk away. Whatever happened between the "shake the dust from your sandals" theory
and the "turn the other cheek motto?"
Well, that thesis can be bridged with a good sermon. I'm
not a pastor so I'll leave that one for theologians to wrestle with.
January 2, 2012
be it resolved -----
I don't ordinarily make New Years resolutions. But this year is an exception.
can trace my weight gain all the way back to 1985 when my thyroid was removed. I had what's known as a "thyroid storm"
at work and was taken by ambulance to Northwest Memorial Hospital from the law firm where I worked. An endocrinologist diagnosed
Graves Disease, an autoimmune nuisance. Problem was I had my daughter's wedding gown about half done and was looking down
the barrel of her wedding in about two weeks. I finished the gown, had the thyroid ablated with a radioactive iodine. Quint
said I glowed in the dark. The doctor released me much earlier than he would have ordinarily because I promised to return
post haste after the wedding for quick checkups. That only entailed a quick cab ride over to his office from the law firm
where I was back at work.
The problem was, my weight started to slowly rise. At about a 60 degree slope upward.
I put on seventy pounds in a year!
I tried lots of diets. All the wrong ones. Low carb diets, for instance, are
never any good. I don't care who recommends them, they are not good for your body's chemistry. The human being is meant to
eat grains and grain products. Problem was, I wasn't eating anything differently than my pre-ablation days.
in 2006 Quint and I moved. We bought a Cape Cod. People thought I was nuts to move into a house that had three levels when
we had lived in a condominium that was all on one level. Not to mention that my knees were giving me fits. But after we moved
I started to lose weight. Slowly. Ever so slowly. After about six months my knees were not giving me any problems at all.
I wasn't doing anything much different except I was out from under the sedentary lifestyle that came with my counseling practice.
I was walking around more. I enjoyed the physical activity. At the end of a year I was 49 pounds lighter.
is the year I'm going to take off the rest of the 25 pounds that I packed on. And how am I going to do this? Simple. Give
up most of the flour products I eat.
Following a gout diet is not that difficult. Sugar is my enemy. Yeast products
are also my enemy. Meat is my enemy too. No more bacon with my eggs. No more smoky links that are stuffed with cheddar cheese
and jalapeno peppers.
No more cookies. At least not more than two at one sitting. Ice cream is okay so it's a
good thing that I really like Eskimo Pies -- sugar free that is. This afternoon I'm going to make a cookie that has a chocolate
turtle stuffed inside. The cookie dough is a Pillsbury sugar free cake mix and the chocolate turtles are sugar free from Russell
Stove. I'll cut the turtles into quarters to make them go farther. Does it cost more to make them? You bet. But it's cheaper
than all the medicines that you have to take if you're diabetic. I can have a couple of cookies with impunity.
cheeses and cottage cheese are also very good for me. And for some reason, tart cherries are also good for the gout diet.
They are low in purines. The lower the purines in the bloodstream, the lower the risk of too much uric acid in the blood.
Fresh apples and oranges and bananas are good for the low purine diet too. But I seldom eat bananas. Once in a while we'll
put them on cereal for breakfast. (Did you know that a serving of banana is only 1/2 of the banana?) It has too much sugar
in it. I learned that from Quint's diabetic diet.
Two weeks ago I started a lifestyle change that will allow me
to get control of the gout. I've now lost 5 and a half pounds.
I'm looking forward to being at least ten pounds
lighter by the end of January. That's the only resolution that I've made so far.
I'm thinking about slowing down
a bit. Especially now that I'm working at a job that I really enjoy in the afternoons. It's working for a dual parish church
office. Fortunately, the pastor I work with was a friend of mine before I started working with him.
I'm not willing
to give that up. But I am willing to give up my "over-do" list. It's too easy for people to mistake my generosity
with my time and energy. So I'm going to step back this year and let other people do some of the things that I used to
do. In the meantime, I have joined a Christian Writers Group that meets here in Effingham County. It's a group of about ten
people who are writing for publication.
And I have a couple of grants that I promised to write for some business
people here in the county. I like writing grants. It keeps my paralegal skills honed. And I like helping business people get
their enterprises off the ground.
I also want to continue with my own writing projects.
And that should
keep me busy and productive in the new year.
That's only two resolutions. They're two that I can commit to that
I know I will follow faithfully. That's the key to success when it comes to re-inventing yourself. Pick a re-invention project
that you are willing to commit to completely. And don't take on too many projects at the same time. You'll only frustrate
yourself. Pick a project that you are motivated to work on. For me, it was the dreaded fear that if I kept on gobbling away,
I'd hit 300 pounds. That's just something that I'm not willing to embrace. Besides, losing weight is all about math. If you
eat more calories than you use up, you'll gain weight.
I've watched people who claim that they "just can't
lose weight." They'd have you believe that they have tried everything. Yet, when you look at their plates, there's potatoes,
noodles, and bread and butter. Then there's the entree and maybe, just maybe a little bit of green vegetable. Never ever eat
potatoes and bread in the same meal. And I don't know what they think they're doing by dumping noodles or dressing onto the
plate. After all, you're not required to eat everything on the menu. So, if you're an adult, make a fist. That's about a cup.
Half of that amount would be a serving. If you're eating a closed fist size of mashed potatoes, you're eating too much. Oh,
you could have that much in green beans. That's for sure. But not if the beans are highly seasoned with butter and bacon bits,
I figure you've probably seen this letter that my cousins Mark and Al sent to me, but
it's worth another read through:
Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month.
The day after she
passed away my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking
about how much she missed Abbey.
She asked if
we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God
would recognize her.
I told her that I thought
we could so, and she dictated these words:
Will you please take care of my dog?
She died yesterday and is with you in heaven.
her very much.
I ' m happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.
I hope you will
play with her.
She likes to swim and play with balls.
I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will
know that she is my dog.
I really miss her.
We put the letter in an envelope with a
picture of Abbey & Meredith , addressed it
We put our return address on it.
several stamps on the front of the envelope cause she said it would
take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way
to heaven. That afternoon she
dropped it into the letter box at the post office.
A few days later, she asked if
God had gotten the letter yet.
I told her that I thought He had.
Yesterday, there was a package wrapped
in gold paper on our front porch addressed,
'To Meredith' in an unfamiliar hand.
Meredith opened it.
was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.'
Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to
God in its opened
On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I recognized
Abbey isn't sick anymore.
Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart.
loved being your dog.
Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your
so I ' m sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and
have something to remember Abbey by.
Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it
and sending it to me.
a wonderful mother you have.
I picked her especially for you.
I send my blessings every day and remember that
I love you very much.
By the way, I'm easy to find.
I am wherever there is love.
January 1, 2012
What a beautiful
message I've received from my cousins, Mark and Al:
WHAT HAPPENS IN HEAVEN WHEN
> This is one of the nicest e-mails
I have seen :
> I dreamt that I went to Heaven
and an angel was showing me around. We
> walked side-by-side inside a large workroom
filled with angels. My angel
> guide stopped in front of the first section and said,
'This is the
> Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received.
> I looked around in this area, and it was terribly
busy with so many angels
> sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets
and scraps from
> people all over the world.
> Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section.
> The angel then said to me, "This is the Packaging
and Delivery Section.
> Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed
> delivered to the living persons who asked for them." I noticed again how
> busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station,
> since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged
> for delivery to Earth.
> Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of
a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated
> there, idly
doing nothing. "This is the Acknowledgment Section, my angel
> friend quietly admitted
to me. He seemed embarrassed.
> "How is
it that there is no work going on here? I asked."
"So sad," the angel sighed. "After people receive the blessings that they
asked for, very few send back acknowledgments."
"How does one acknowledge God's blessings? "I asked.
> "Simple," the angel answered. Just say, "Thank you, Lord."
> "What blessings should they acknowledge?" I asked.
> "If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof
> overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world.
> If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish,
> you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy, and if you get this on
your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that
> "If you woke up this morning with more
health than illness.. You are more
> blessed than the many who will not even survive
> "If you have never experienced
the fear in battle, the loneliness of
> imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs
of starvation... You are
> ahead of 700 million people in the world."
> "If you can attend a church without the fear of
> torture or death you are envied by, and more blessed than, three
> people in the world."
> "If your parents are still alive and still married.... you are very rare."
> "If you can hold your head up and smile, you are
not the norm, you're
> unique to all those in doubt and despair......."
> "Ok," I said. "What now? How can I start?"
> The Angel said, "If you can read this
message, you just received a double
> blessing in that someone was thinking of you as
very special and you are
> more blessed than over two billion people in the world who
cannot read at
> Have a good day, count your blessings , and if you care to, pass this
along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are..........
> ATTN: Acknowledge Dept .
"Thank you Lord, for giving me the ability to share this message and for
me so many wonderful people with whom to share it."
If you have read this far, and are thankful for all that you have been
> blessed with,
how can you not send it on?
thank God for everything, especially all my family and friends.
do you know how many pearly gates there are? -- If you guessed 12, you'd be correct. See Revelation 21.)
here's a profound story from my friend Linda, in Lawrenceville:
Read it before but just as powerful the second or third time.
GOD BLESS. Please do not forget the real reason for the
This is so beautiful!
A little boy was selling newspapers on the corner, the people
were in and out of the cold.
The little boy was so cold that he wasn't trying to sell many
He walked up to a policeman and said, 'Mister,
you wouldn't happen to know where a poor boy could
find a warm place to sleep tonight would you?
You see, I sleep in a box up around the corner there and down
the alley and it's awful cold in there for tonight. Sure
would be nice to have a warm place to stay.'
The policeman looked down at the little boy and said, 'You go
down the street to that big white house and you knock
on the door. When they come out the door you just say John
3:16, and they will let you in.'
So he did. He walked up the steps and knocked
on the door, and a lady answered. He looked up and said,
'John 3:16 .' The lady said, 'Come on in, Son.'
She took him in and she sat him down in a split bottom rocker
in front of a great big old fireplace, and she went off..
boy sat there for a while and thought to himself:
John 3:16 ....I don't understand it, but it sure makes a cold
Later she came back and asked him 'Are you hungry? 'He said,
'Well, just a little. I haven't eaten in a couple of days,
and I guess I could stand a little bit of food,'
The lady took him in the kitchen and sat him down to a table
full of wonderful food. He ate and ate until he couldn't
anymore. Then he thought to himself: John 3:16...
Boy, I sure don't understand it but it sure makes a hungry
She took him upstairs to a bathroom to a huge bathtub
filled with warm water, and he sat there
and soaked for a
while. As he soaked, he thought to himself: John 3:16 ...
I sure don't understand it, but it sure makes a dirty boy
clean... You know, I've not had a bath, a real bath, in my
whole life. The only bath I ever had was when I stood in
front of that big old fire hydrant as they flushed it out.
The lady came in and got him. She took him to a room,
tucked him into a big old feather bed, pulled the covers up
around his neck, kissed him goodnight and turned out the
lights. As he lay in the darkness and looked out the
window at the snow coming down on that cold night,
he thought to himself: John 3:16 .....I don't understand it
but it sure makes a tired boy rested.
The next morning the lady came back up and took him
down again to that same big table full of food. After he
ate, she took him back to that same big old split bottom
rocker in front of the fireplace and picked up a big old Bible.
She sat down in front of him and looked into his young face..
'Do you understand John 3:16 ? ' she asked gently. He replied,
'No, Ma'am, I don't. The first time I ever heard it was last
night when the policeman told me to use it,'
She opened the Bible to John 3:16 and began to explain
to him about Jesus . Right there, in front of that big old
fireplace, he gave his heart and life to Jesus. He sat there
and thought: John 3:16,“I
don't understand it, but it sure makes a lost boy feel safe.
You know, I have to confess I don't understand it either,
how God was willing to send His Son to die for me, and how
Jesus would agree to do such a thing. I don't understand the
agony of the Father and every angel in heaven as they watched
and die. I don't understand the intense love for ME that kept
Jesus on the cross till the end. I don't understand it,
it sure does make life worth living.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have everlasting life....
If you aren't ashamed to do this, please follow the
Jesus said, 'If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of
you before my Father.' Pass this on only if you mean it.
I do Love God . He is my source of existence... .. He keeps
me functioning each and every day. Phil 4:13 If you love
and are not ashamed of all the marvelous things he has done
for you, send this on..
Take 60 seconds & give this a shot ! Let's just see if Satan
stops this one.
All you do is:
1) Simply say a small prayer for the person who sent you
this, 'Father, God bless this person in whatever it is that
You know he or she may be needing this day. In Jesus' Name,
Amen ! '
2) Then send it on to other people. Within hours many people
have prayed for you, and you caused a multitude of
pray to God for other people. Then sit back and watch the
power of God work in your life for doing the
thing that you
know He loves.
(This is a good example of what I call Network Prayers. It really makes me feel
great to know that people are praying for me, and I love to pray for others too. Thank you, Linda, for sending.)