Monday, March 31, 2008
Curious that Paul says at the beginning
of this chapter the same thing he said at the beginning of the third chapter, namely, that he was a prisoner for Christ.
When I looked at Matthew Henry's commentary for some clue of this apparently redundancy, I was greeted with this
insight: ...There is work to be done, even when we are suffering. Amidst all their trials they gave thanks to the Father
of our Lord Jesus, whose special grace fitted them to partake of the inheritance provided for the saints.
about this change, those were made willing subjects of Christ, who were slaves of Satan.
All who are designed for
heaven hereafter, are prepared for heaven now.
Those who have the inheritance of sons, have the education of sons,
and the disposition of sons.
By faith in Christ they enjoyed this redemption, as the purchase of his atoning blood,
whereby forgiveness of sins, and all other spiritual blessings were bestowed. Surely then we shall deem it a favour to be
delivered from Satan's kingdom and brought into that of Christ, knowing that all trials will soon end, and that every
believer will be found among those who come out of great tribulation.
So Paul is sitting in prison in chains and yet he still wants to continue the education of Christians.
He wants Christians to come to a deeper understanding of just what Christ did.
He wants Christians to live
a life worthy of the calling they received. As he says in verses 2-3: Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing
with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. NIV
then says that we are called to one hope -- one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all
and through all and in all.(verses 5-6) NIV
It is this hope that all Christians share. And Paul reminds us
that this hope is sealed through one baptism for this baptism brings us into God's family as his children.
Henry says that in baptism we put on Christ; therein we profess to be his disciples. Being baptized into Christ, we are
baptized into his death, that as he died and rose again, so we should die unto sin, and walk in newness and holiness of life.
The putting on of Christ according to the gospel, consists not in outward imitation, but in a new birth, an entire
change. He who makes believers to be heirs, will provide for them.
Therefore our care must be to do the duties
that belong to us, and all other cares we must cast upon God. And our special care must be for heaven; the things of this
life are but trifles...
Paul then quotes from Psalm 68:18 at this point: When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and
gave gifts to men.
There are a couple of powerful points to be made with Paul's quotation from the Psalm
at this point.
First, the reference to Christ's ascending into heaven. A cross reference to John 3:13 says:
No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.
It's true that
both Enoch and Elijah ascended -- that is, they did not know human death -- but the distinction is that they did not descend
to earth again. Only Jesus Christ has done that.
Paul says in verse 10: He who descended is the very one who
ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.
It is Jesus Christ. Paul rests
his faith on Jesus Christ. Christ comes to fulfill the old Levitical law, not to enforce it.
I love the way Matthew
Henry puts it: ...We have in Him the substance of all the shadows of the ceremonial law. All the defects of it are made
up in the gospel of Christ, by his complete sacrifice for sin, and by the revelation of the will of God.
be complete, is to be furnished with all things necessary for salvation. By this one word to complete, is shown that we have
in Christ whatever is required. ...We are in him, by the power of the Spirit. We have faith wrought in our hearts by the Spirit,
and we are united to our Head. The circumcision of the heart, the crucifixion of the flesh, the death and burial to sin and
to the world, and the resurrection to newness of life, set forth in baptism, and by faith wrought in oru hearts, prove that
our sins are forgiven, and that we are fully delivered from the curse of the law.
Through Christ, we,
who were dead in sins, are quickened. Christ's death was the death of our sins; Christ's resurrectioon is the quickening
of our souls.
The law of ordinances, which was a yoke to the Jews, and a partition-wall to the Gentiles, the Lord
Jesus took out of the way. When the substance was come, the shadows fled.
...Let not any be troubled about bigoted
judgments which related to meats, or the Jewish solemnities. The setting apart a portion of our time for the worship and service
of God, is a moral and unchangeable duty, but had no necessary dependence upon the seventh day of the week, the sabbath of
the Jews. The first day of the week, or the Lord's day, is the time kept holy by Christians, in remembrance of Christ's
resurrection. All the Jewish rites were shadows of gospel blessings.
And oh, for sure, we
can't just sit and do nothing. Oh contraire'. Christ has jobs for us to do. He wants some of us to be preachers. Some
of us ought to be teachers. Some of us are to be evangelists. And some are apostles and prophets.
And why does
Christ have all these jobs for us to do? Easy answer: so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity
in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
(verse 12b-13) NIV
When we get to that point in our faith -- that point of unity where we all become mature
Christians, not faith babies tossed about on the waves of new heresies and new apostasies designed by crafty schemers, then
we grow into the body of Christ where Christ is the head and the rest of us are the ligaments and muscles and bones. We're
all held together by Christ. One Christ.
The heresies that were
flying around the towns and countryside where Paul's missionary journeys had taken him to grow and develop churches
became a bigger and bigger threat to the infant churches. This was a serious threat to the new believers and it was something
Paul battled from his prison cell.
In this discussion, think about the ways that the new Gnostics are trying to
frustrate Christianity today.
What do you know about the New Age/Spiritistic Theology and Philosophy?
What do you know about Scientology?
Both of these "new age" religions make promises about enlightenment
and God that is no more founded on the Bible than the Gnosticism that was running rampant through Macedonia during Paul's
time. And yes, make no mistake about it, these new age theologies attempt to confound Christianity.
Age Gnostics: An excellent Biblical response to the New Age Movement can be found here:
I have two verses that I find comforting in that they say all I need to say about the new age theology:
1.) Ephesians 2:18 -- For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
2.) John 14:6-7--
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really
knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
I urge you
to take six minutes of your time and watch this video of Oprah as she launches the New Earth Webcast -- and be mindful of
her words: ...there are many paths to what you call God... and ...there couldn't possibly be just one way...
We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that you would send your angels to guard and protect
your church here on earth from all false teachings. We are under attack and need your help. I pray that your Holy Spirit would
wrap around the heart of each and every Christian so that we can all rest on you for our faith and find strength in your gospel
message of salvation. Amen.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Paul prays for the Ephesians. He tells
them he prays for them. He tells them that he kneels before God the Father and prays for the entire family of God -- all of
Paul prays power and love from God to the Ephesians.
Well, my Concordia Study
Bible offers this footnote on page 1807: God's key gifts are "power" (vv. 16, 18, 20) and "love"
In verse 16, Paul writes: I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with
power through his Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
verses 17b-18: And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ...
And in verses 20-21: Now to
him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within
us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
in verse 19, we see the extent of the love that Paul prays for the Ephesians: ...to know this love that surpasses knowledge
-- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Matthew Henry offers this commentary:
Blessings were made known to believers, by the Lord's showing to them the mystery of his sovereign will, and the method
of redemption and salvation.
But these must have been forever hidden from us, if God had not made them known by
his written word, preached gospel, and Spirit of truth.
Christ united the two differing parties, God and man,
in his own person, and satisfied for that wrong which caused the separation. He wrought, by his Spirit, those graces of faith
and love, whereby we are made one with God, and among ourselves.
...What a gracious promise that is, which secures
the gift of the Holy Ghost to those who ask him! The sanctifying and comforting influences of the Holy Spirit seal believers
as the children of God, and heirs of heaven. These are the first-fruits of holy happiness.
And who among us
would not want to be a child of God?
And if we were assured that we could God talking to us, who among us would
not want to hear God. We have his Word. We can hear God talking to us down through the ages.
The same message
that God breathed onto the paper through the fingers that held the pens of the early prophets, and disciples, and apostles.
That's the same God today as he was back then. His Word is printed in our Bibles. The Bible is at our fingertips.
Who among us would not want to read the Word of God?
And who among us would not want to be heirs of heaven? That
is God's promise to us -- through Christ's death on the cross for the forgiveness of all our sins, we are heirs to
the Kingdom of God.
That's grace. Good works won't get you into the Kingdom of God. Entrance is restricted
to those who are blessed with God's grace. And who among us would want to disqualify ourselves by not claiming this gift
It's not about good works. It's about grace.
Sometimes I think we get confused about
what we think good works are. Good works like good deeds that we do for other people. Or good works like not being over-indulgent.
Good works like not losing our temper. Good works like sending care packages to college students and military people and other
loved ones who are far away from home. Good works like driving our neighbor to the doctor. Good works like mowing our neighbor's
Good works don't buy forgiveness of sins. Forgiveness is not for sale. But it did come with a price.
The heavy price of Jesus Christ's death on the cross. Forgiveness is yours and mine for the asking.
we need to do is ask for forgiveness -- there, hold out your hand. Unlock your heart. Pray for the Holy Spirit to come into
your heart and take up residence within you.
Think of all the things
you do in a week's time that would be considered good works.
It isn't that God doesn't want us to do
kind things, for this is what we do in the name of love.
Remember the verse that says, "Good trees bear good
fruit?" We do good works because we are loved and want to show our love for others. So we do things that we hope will
please others. That's what good works are all about.
And God smiles when he sees us doing that, I think.
So we ought not to stop doing good deeds. Rather, we need to be careful in what we think those good works are going
to get us. After all, good works are about good will. That's what we get from good works. We get the good will of the
person or organization that we do them for.
Not even close to what God's grace will gift us with.
We pray: Oh Lord, my heavenly father, I thank you for the gift of forgiveness of sins and salvation and
heaven that comes to me through the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
I pray that the Christian
faith will continue to spread far and wide around this globe. I pray that Christians everywhere will be rejuvenated in their
faith practices and seek you out.
I pray that you will bless our work and everything that we do for others. Thank
you for all the abilities that you give each one of us so that we can serve you better. Amen.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
In these first couple of verses, Paul is
reminding the Ephesians that he is in Rome under arrest because of his preaching the gospel message. Paul says, in verse 2,
surely you have heard about the administration of God's grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made
known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly.
Paul had been in Ephesus for an extended period
so it is likely that most of the Ephesians that he was writing this letter had either met him or had heard of him. However,
since this letter was written as a letter to be read to a number of the churches, Paul takes no chances and reviews his spiritual
And again, starting at verse 4, we have a message that I believe was directly addressed to the
Gnostics in the area. Paul wants these people to know that he, Paul, had been given the solutions to great spiritual mysteries.
Here's what Paul says in verses 4-6: In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight
into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit
to God's holy apostles and prophets.
This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together
with Israel, members in the promise in Christ Jesus.
It is Paul who knows the solution to the mystery. It
is Paul who had been given this spiritual insight by none other than the Holy Spirit. It is Paul who wants the Gnostics to
drop away from their heretical leanings. For it is Paul who speaks with the authority to the Holy Spirit.
it is Paul who is also telling the Jews and Gentiles alike that they are both brought together as children of God. Together
the Israelites share a common heirship with the Gentiles through the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for all.
This is the gospel message that Paul reiterates time and time again -- to the Colossians, to the Corinthians, to the Philippians,
to the Romans and now to the Ephesians. It is this gospel that Paul says he is a servant to in verse 7. And this message became
Paul's insight as a gift from God. It was God's grace that brought this insight to Paul.
What is amazing
about all this, Paul says in verses 8-9 is: Although I am less than the least of all God's people, this grace was
given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ and to make plain to everyone the administration of
this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.
This is the exact same message
that Paul had said to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 15:9 -- For I am ... unworthy to be called an apostle, because
I persecuted the church of God.
When Luke was writing the Book of Acts, he remembers it this way in Acts 9:15
-- But the Lord said to [Paul], "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and
kings and the children of Israel."
So what exactly did Paul mean by "the unsearchable riches of
Matthew Henry has a commentary about that: The apostle Paul knew the mysteries of the kingdom
of God as well as ever any man; yet he confesses himself at a loss; and despairing to find the bottom, he humbly sits down
at the brink, and adores the depth.
Those who know most in this imperfect state, feel their own weakness most.
There is not only depth in the Divine counsels, but riches; abundance of that which is precious and valuable.
The Divine counsels are complete; they have not only depth and height, but breadth and length (Ephesians 3:18) and
that passing knowledge.
There is that vast distance and disproportion between God and man, between the Creator
and the creature, which for ever shuts us from knowledge of his wages.
What man shall teach God how to govern the
The apostle adores the sovereignty of the Divine counsels. All things in heaven and earth, especially those
which relate to our salvation, that belong to our peace, are all of him by way of creation, through him by way of providence,
that they may be to him in their end.
Paul tells the Ephesians that God's intent was to bring the knowledge of his mysteries to them through the
These mysteries had been hidden up until this point for it is through Jesus Christ that this was all accomplished
according to God's own purpose.
And now the time had come -- the cosmic clock had struck the minute hand of
destiny and it was time for God's mysteries to unfold. They were revealed through Jesus Christ, and brought to the Ephesians
by Paul himself, as unworthy as he claimed to be.
None of us is unworthy. Paul says in verse 12: In him and
through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
This reminds me of the time when my
sister and I had gone to a carnival. We must have been in high school at the time. Anyway, Cookie wanted to go into this tent
where a fortune teller was, so she dragged me in there.
The fortune teller started out by telling us that someone
had placed a curse on us and we needed to buy some of her special candles which she would light during the next seven days
while she murmured these special incantations.
Well, eyes got about as big as silver dollars. She wanted $80 for
all this. The money was not so much for the candles as her prayer intercessions.
I told her that the God I prayed
to didn't charge anything for my prayers and I wasn't required to light candles. He could see my prayers just fine
without them. We got out of there in a hurry, I can tell you that!
But my point is that we can approach God anytime
we want to. In fact, he wants to hear from us all the time. He'll stop what he's doing to hear us.
Have there been times in your life when you felt as if you were looking into the
brink? Were those awesome moments that made you think of deep inquiries into your soul? Or were they despairing moments when
you thought for a tiny fleeting moment that your problems were too small and inconsequential to matter to a God who fills
up the universe?
If your response is the latter, than I would encourage you to write verse 8 on a slip of paper
and carry it in your pocket. Take it out when you feel small and unimportant for you know that God has something that he wants
you to do. In fact, in Ephesians 2:10, he says that he prepared a project just for you to do.
(Verse 8, again:
Although I am less than the least of all God's people, this grace as given to me...)
comes to us. My experience has been that it comes by way of a job that he hands me to do. I task that wakes me up in the morning.
If I try to put it off, it becomes a nagging thought -- a kind of "just do it" nag.
And so I think I
might just as well go on and get out of bed. Not going to get much sleep anyway with nagging thoughts jumping around in my
head. Then I realize that I have much to be thankful for -- just being able to get things done.
Oh Lord, I thank you that you let me get near you and that you hear my prayers. I thank you for all your blessings
you have given to me -- for health and happiness and the wonder of intellect.
I especially pray for all the victims
of the floodings in the vast center of this country. Please be with these people who have lost so much. I pray that you will
give them strength as they rebuild their lives and homes and churches. Amen.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Can you just imagine how difficult it was
for Paul to unite the Jews with the Gentiles? What were some of the most challenging aspects, do you suppose?
first of all, the Jews believed -- in fact, they had been told by none other than God himself -- that they were the chosen
Down through the generations, the Jewish people honored the traditions that their forefathers got from
Moses. These were actually more than traditions. Instead, they were big Rules! An entire book of the Bible -- Leviticus --
is devoted to those rules that were wrapped around the how-tos of worship and living. The tribe of Levi was given the responsibility
of keeping these rules holy and seeing to it that the Jewish people were strictly governed by, guess what, Levitical rules.
The rules were a big deal. Nothing to tamper with!
Now here comes Paul who's telling them that
Jesus Christ came to fulfill this law. And Paul wants them to think about these old time-honored rules that he calls
I suspect the Gentiles may have been wondering what all the fuss was about. For instance,
if it's true that Jesus fulfilled these old laws for everybody, then why wouldn't the Jews lighten up just
a bit? After all, the Gentiles truly believed that Jesus was the Son of God. He had come to earth in human flesh, died as
a gift of forgiveness from his father for all mankind.
The Gentiles may have been most willing to worship
together with the Jews. In all likelihood, it was the Jews who wanted to keep their faith and worship practices segregated
from the Gentiles.
And why would that be? Well, for starters, the Gentiles weren't circumcised. And Paul was
telling them they didn't have to be. This business about circumcision had to do with the Levitical law. This circumcision
was a way of being obedient to God -- following his rules, the Jews believed, brought them into a covenant relationship
Paul tells the Gentiles this in verses 12-13: Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ,
excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
The Gentiles were no longer separated from God because Jesus Christ brought a new covenant for all people. He did this
by dying for all mankind on the cross.
It is belief in Christ and his forgiveness of sins that brings this new
covenant relationship to Gentiles and Jews alike. The old covenant relationship with God that was signified by circumcision
was replaced by the blood of Christ.
"I don't know," the Jewish people probably thought. "This
sounds like disobedience to us."
And they'd heard stories that were passed down through the generations
of their people about what God did when the Israelites were disobedient.
So that's the mind set of the Jewish
people in Ephesus, Colosse, Phrygia, and the rest of Macedonia and Galatia and the middle east as well.
balked at Paul's message. The Gentiles didn't. And there's the reason why Paul said, "Fine. I'll go preach
to the Gentiles, then."
Except that Paul is always trying to get these groups of believers merged together.
He really wants one cohesive group of believing Christians. Oh sure, the apostle Peter was working on the Jewish believers
And don't forget from our studies that there is now another group of people settling in the middle
east. Those are the Scythians. They'd gotten themselves booted out of Persia. (That's Iran in this day and age.)
As if Paul didn't have his hands full, the Scythians come into this area with the notion that people went to paradise
if they had enough experiences that brought them knowledge about the great mysteries. These experiences allowed them to develop
insights that would solve the mysteries and when that happened, the gates of paradise opened for them. These were the heretics
running around the middle east. They were having trouble giving up the idea of Gnosticism.
But did Paul waver?
Was Paul frustrated? I'd just bet that at times he was.
But you see, Paul had the Holy Spirit
with him. And because Paul spoke with the power and authority of the Holy Spirit, he could out-shout all these home-grown
philosophers. He could out-maneuver them intellectually. His great passion for preaching to all of these people sprang
from the very depths of his soul.
No. Paul was not about to give up. He was fully equipped for the call of Jesus
Christ who, with the Holy Spirit, shot holes in Satan's arguments every time!
Listen to what Paul says about
these Levitical laws in verse 14: For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier,
the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations.
those commandments and regulations were those rules that were written down in Leviticus.
But there's an important
distinction to be made here, for Paul wasn't advocating that the Jews should stop obeying the Levitical laws, but rather,
the separation between the Jewish believers and the Gentiles was removed. The Jews couldn't use the laws of old as a barrier
-- and a hostile one at that -- to keep the Gentiles from receiving the blessings of salvation.
I have a cross
reference here to Matthew 5:17 where Jesus makes this point clear: Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or
the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
And here is what Paul said in his letter
to the Romans in the 3rd chapter, verse 31 -- Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By now means! On the contrary
we uphold the law.
So you see, it wasn't that Paul was trying to do away with the law, but rather, that
he wanted both the Jews and the Gentiles to understand that through Jesus' death for the sins of mankind, the covenant
relationship with God had a new definition -- namely, the gospel message.
As Paul closes this chapter, he tells
the Gentiles that they are no longer foreigners or aliens to this citizenship of heaven. They are members of God's household
(verse 19) and Jesus himself is the cornerstone of this new spiritual home.
We see the culmination of this thought
in verse 22 -- And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Discussion: This is a wonderfully welcoming message from Paul to the Gentiles. Can you restate the
whole premise of Paul's position of the Levitical law, in your own words?
In review, how is Jesus' death
and resurrection important in how the laws of old were defined? How do you see these two important positions, side by side?
We pray: I thank you, Lord, for the gift your grace. I pray that all who come to study your Word
will be enlightened, strengthened and renewed through these messages.
I pray for all pastors, ministers, teachers,
counselors and all who work in your service. I pray especially today for all the missionaries around the world who put themselves
in harm's way to bring your message to unbelievers. I pray that you will bless their work and send the power of your Holy
Spirit to soften the hearts of those who have doubts about the truth of the gospel message. Amen.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Ephesians 2:1-10 (continued on 3/26)
Paul reminds the Ephesians
of their former lives when their transgressions and sins kept them separated from God, and in verse 2, he carries a warning
to beware of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
He speaks of none other than Satan himself.
I have a cross reference to Revelation 9:11 that reads: They
have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon.
[Note: Abaddon means destruction, and Apollyon means destroyer. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians%206:12;%20Rev%209:11;%20%20John%2012:31%20&version=47)
And from Matthew Henry's commentary, we read: Sin is the death of the soul. A man dead in trespasses
and sins has no desire for spiritual pleasures. When we look upon a corpse, it gives an awful feeling.
spirit is now fled, and has left nothing but the ruins of a man.
...A state of sin is a state of conformity to
this world. Wicked men are slaves to Satan.
Satan is the author of that proud, carnal disposition which there
is in ungodly men; he rules in the hearts of men.
...God's eternal love or good-will toward his creatures,
is the fountain from whence all his mercies flow to us; and that love of God is great love, and that mercy is rich mercy.
And every converted sinner is a saved sinner; delivered from sin and wrath. The grace that saves is the free, undeserved
goodness and favour of God; and he saves, not by the works of the law, but through faith in Christ Jesus.
in the soul is a new life in the soul.
A regenerated sinner becomes a living soul; he lives a life of holiness,
being born of God: he lives, being delivered from the guilt of sin, by pardoning and justifying grace.
our conversion, and our eternal salvation, are not of works, lest any man should boast. These things are not brought to pass
by any thing done by us, therefore all boasting is shut out.
All is the free gift of God, and the effect of being
quickened by his power. It was his purpose, to which he prepared us, by blessing us with the knowledge of his will, and his
Holy Spirit producing such a change in us, that we should glorify God by our good conversation, and perseverance in holiness.
Paul explains to the Ephesians, in verses 4-7: But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich
in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions -- it is by grace you have been saved.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming
ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
then Paul writes in these words that have been indelibly written on the hearts of Sunday School children the world over, in
verses 8-9: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God
-- not by works, so that no one can boast.
So just in case the Ephesians were getting the idea -- and we don't
know if they were or not -- but Paul wanted them to be very clear about this: There is no way in heaven or in earth that any
man can "earn" his way into heaven. Good works will just not get your there. It's as simple as that. No man
can make that claim, and certainly nobody can brag about it as if they could get to salvation by their good deeds.
Just not going to happen.
But, if you call on the name of Jesus Christ -- then you can come to the Father. You
must believe that our Heavenly Father paved the way for you on streets of gold and he did this by sending his Son, Jesus Christ,
to die for our sins.
Forgiveness is yours for the asking. Heirship in the kingdom of God is yours for the claiming.
It's just that simple -- and it's just that complicated.
It's all about grace. God's grace to mankind
because he loves us all that much.
But look at what verse 10 says: For we are God's workmanship, created
in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Make no mistake about it, God
likes it when we are kind to others and do our good deeds -- this pleases God very much. I refer you back to Colossians
1:10 which we read only a short time ago: ...walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit
in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
I believe that God sends people to us, to cross
our paths. Perhaps they come to us with needs that we can supply. Perhaps they cross our paths by bringing us opportunities
to minister to them.
Pay special attention to the second part of verse 10: ...God prepared in advance for
us to do.
There are no coincidences where God is concerned. There are no accidents when it comes to opportunities
to do good deeds, to forgive others, to be kind, to love other people just like we love ourselves. These scenarios in our
lives are put there by God. We run through the scenes of our lives too quickly sometimes. As if we were just reading our lines.
But keep in mind that there are only three persons in the audience watching us: God the Father, God the Son, and
God the Holy Spirit.
God the Father is watching to see what we do about the scenario he set up for us. The plot
-- the characters -- did we show our Heavenly Father that we exercised our free will by making the choice that would be pleasing
And God the Son is watching us. If we continue to behave in ways that are less than kind, or if we continue
to live our lives in sin, then Jesus Christ is thinking about his anguish on the cross where he died for our sins, perhaps.
If we continue to willingly live our lives filled with sin, then haven't we turned our back on Christ and everything he
did for our salvation?
And then there's the Holy Spirit watching us. Oh my goodness. Here is the person in
the Trinity who knows what kind of corrective life experience we need in order to become disciplined children of God.
Free will -- it's about making choices that are pleasing to God.
Because God is watching us from his vantage
point in the audience of our lives.
(I will continue Chapter 2 in the morning.)
Monday, March 24, 2008
This letter to the Ephesians was most
likely written while Paul was still in prison in Rome, most likely around 60 A.D. (Concordia Study Bible note
on page 1802). Some scholars place Paul's writing at 62 A.D.
Paul had long experiences with the church at Ephesus.
His first visit to the Ephesians is recorded in Acts 18:19-21: And he came to Ephesus ... entered into
the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. When they desired him to tarry longer with them, he consented not; but bade them
farewell, saying, "I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem; but I will return again unto you, if
God will. And he sailed from Ephesus. KJV
Paul returned to Ephesus on his second missionary journey, as we
read in 1 Corinthians 16:9 -- But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great door and effectual is opened unto
me, and there are many adversaries.
Keep in mind that at this time in Ephesus, there were many who worshipped
Artemis. The Ephesians made all these little silver statues of Artemis which were a hot seller in the marketplaces. Artemis
was supposedly the daughter of Leto and Zeus. She was the twin of Apollo. She became the goddess of fertility and childbirth
even though she was supposedly a virgin goddess. Making statues of her was a very successful industry in Ephesus so when Paul
was talking about an "effectual" being opened up for him, he was talking about going after all these idolaters.
It was a mission field fertile for planting the gospel message of Jesus Christ. I mean if the Ephesians had pinned
their hopes on a little silver statue, just imagine what they would do when Paul brought them to great news of salvation
that was real.
Paul stayed in Ephesus for three years on this journey. The statue makers were not happy to have
him there because he was interfering with their source of income, and bankruptcy was not what they had in mind!
Paul was successful in converting many believers to Jesus Christ and establishing churches. While he was in Ephesus
during these three years, the gospel spread throughout Asia (Acts 19:26).
On Paul's last journey to Jerusalem,
he landed at Miletus, an old city dating back to Hittite days. Miletus is a near neighbor of Ephesus and Smyrna. We have this
account in Acts 20:17-19: And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. And when they were
come to him, he said to them, "Yeknow, from the first day that I came to Asia, after what manner I have been with yo
at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the laying
in wait of the Jews. KJV
So you see, from these accounts, we can surmise that Paul had many established relationships
with the church in Ephesus as well as the surrounding areas in Asia.
He begins this letter to the Ephesians with
what I would call a "general opening" to all the saints in Ephesus. And at verse 3, he begins what we call a doxology
-- that is a recitation of worship and honor, and a recounting of the blessings that the faithful enjoy.
Study Bible lists these as blessings through the Father (verse 3), blessings coming from the Son (verse 4-13a), and then blessings
we have from the Holy Spirit (verses 13b-14). (page 1804): Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who
hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
According as he has chosen us in him
before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love, having predestined us unto
the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory
of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the
forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; wherein he has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having
made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself; that in the
dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and
which are on earth; even in him:
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according
to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be the praise of his glory, who
first trusted in Christ. In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, in
whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance
until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. KJV
I compare verses 7-10
above to the New International Version: In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance
with the riches of Gods grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery
of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ to be put into effect when the time will have reached its
fulfillment -- to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. NIV
early verses of this chapter strike an inquiry in my mind about sinners being chosen to live with God
from the beginning of time. But man falls into sin and this sin separates mankind from God. Through Christ we become pardoned
sinners and are restored to the privileges that sin had taken away from us. Through his Son, Jesus Christ, our loving Heavenly
Father restores us through grace.
And remember that the Gnostics who were seizing every opportunity to disrupt
this flow of grace from God in the early churches were hard at work through the minions of evil in Ephesus.
Paul against reminds the Ephesians that God has revealed his great mysteries to believers and this wisdom and understanding
comes to them according to God's good pleasure (verse 9). This is a direct message to the Gnostics to stop stirring
up trouble -- the church at Ephesus was secured for Christ.
Matthew Henry has this to say about the closing verses
of this doxology: Blessings were made known to believers, by the Lord's showing to them the mystery of his sovereign
will, and the method of redemption and salvation.
But these must have been forever hidden from us, if God had
not made then known by his written word, preached gospel, and Spirit of truth.
Christ united the two differing
parties, God and man, in his own person, and satisfied that wrong which caused the separation. He wrought, by his Spirit,
those graces of faith and love, whereby we are made one with God, and among ourselves. He dispenses all his blessings, according
to his good pleasure.
His Divine teaching led whom he pleased to see the glory of these truths, which others were
left to blaspheme.
What a gracious promise that is, which secures the gift of the Holy Ghost to those who ask
him! The sanctifying and comforting influences of the Holy Spirit seal believers as the children of God, and heirs of heaven.
These are the first-fruits of holy happiness. For this we were made, and for this we were redeemed; this is the
great design of God in all that he has done for us; let all be ascribed unto the praise of his glory.
a cross reference to Deuteronomy 7:6 -- For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you
to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
another reference to James 2:5 -- Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be
rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him
In Matthew Henry's
commentary, we are warned to ... deal decidedly with our lusts that war against our souls; let us not show them any mercy,
but mortify, and crucify, and utterly destroy them. http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/mapsgreeceparts/p/Miletus.htm
Henry also adds this comment -- God has laid up spiritual blessings for us in his Son the Lord Jesus; but
requires us to draw them out and fetch them in by prayer. Even the best Christians need to be prayed for. and while we hear
of the welfare of Christian friends, we should pray for them. Even true believers greatly want heavenly wisdom.
... Here is signified that it is Christ the Savior, who supplies all the necessities of those who trust in him, and gives
them all blessings in the richest abundance.
And by being partakers of Christ himself, we come to be filled with
the fullness of grace and glory in him. How then do those forget themselves who seek for righteousness out of him! This teaches
us to come to Christ. http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=57&source=2&seq=i.56.1.4
Again, in verse 17, Paul says that he continues to ask the God of our Lord Jesus to give them the spirit of wisdom
and revelation in the knowledge of him. Paul tells the Ephesians that he wants the eyes of their understanding to be enlightened
so that they will know the hope that they have been called to and the riches of the glory of their inheritance.
how many times Paul uses words like knowledge and understanding and wisdom and revelation through
this letter and the other prison epistles as well. This is a direct confrontation to the beliefs of gnosticism that held salvation
comes through knowledge that comes from life experiences, not salvation through grace from God.
the believers to know that salvation is theirs through Christ, whom God raised from the dead and set him at his right
hand in heaven, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in
this world, but also in that which is to come. (verses 20-21)
God the Father has put all things beneath the
feet of his son Jesus Christ, and God the Father gave Christ to be the head over all things to the church. (verse 22)
To this end, Matthew Henry offers this: Nothing is pressed more earnestly in the Scriptures than to walk as becomes
those called to Christ's kingdom and glory.
By lowliness, understand humility, which is opposed to pride.
By meekness, that excellent disposition of soul, which makes men unwilling to provoke, and not easily to be provoked
We find much in ourselves for which we can hardly forgive ourselves; therefore we must not be surprised
if we find in others that which we think it hard to forgive.
The church, in its full glory, is a collection of believers. Our Heavenly
Father puts Jesus Christ over the church to be its head and to bring the church to its fulfillment in Christ. And because
the church is of holy origin, we ought to make sure that we keep it holy. To that end, Paul addresses the sovreignty of Jesus
Christ in the church in the prison epistles. Paul outlines rules of how we are to behave in churches, how we are to treat
the church, and what we are to supply to the church. He lays down the rules for the church.
In a letter we
haven't studied yet, Paul reminds Timothy: ...if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's
crown unless he competes according to the rules. (2 Timothy 2:5)
Paul refers to the church as the body of
Christ. How if this reverence for Christ observed in your church?
What are some of the rules observed in your church?
How does your church help others through their hardships?
How does your church teach others to follow
We pray: Oh Lord, our Heavenly Father, I pray that others will recognize my faith in you
by my walk through life.
I pray that you will give me the courage to approach others with information about the
power and joy of your love.
I pray that you will bless the church of Faith Lutheran in Shumway so that we can minister
to those around us in need, and welcome those who are hungry to know you.
I pray that you will bless the work
of all pastors and ministers, teachers and counselors who bring the Word of God to unbelievers and believers alike. I pray
that your Holy Spirit will flow through these ministers as they enrich the lives of others. Amen.
Friday, March 21, 2008
THE APOSTLE PAUL'S LIST OF THINGS TO DO FOR HEAVENLY LIVING
encouragers for this "heavenly walk" include:
set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God (verse 1a);
-- set your mind on
things above, not on earthly things (verse 2)
-- you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God (verse
-- put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and
greed, which is idolatry (verse 5)
-- you must rid yourselves of all things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander,
and filthy language from your lips (verse 8)
-- do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self
with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator (verses 9-10)
Ephesians 5 through 6:9
-- live a life of love, just as Christ loved us (verse
-- there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these
are improper for God's holy people (verse 3)
-- there should be no obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking,
which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving (verse 4)
-- no immoral, impure or greedy person -- such a man
is an idolater -- has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God (verse 5)
-- let no one deceive you with
empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore, do not be partners
with them. (verses 6-7)
-- live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness
and truth (verses 8-9)
-- find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness,
but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. (verses 10-12)
Be very careful, then, how you live -- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are
evil. (verse 15)
-- do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. (verse
-- Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,
always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (verses 19-20)
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (verse 21)
-- Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. (verses
-- Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy,
cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain
or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own
bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (verses 25-28)
-- Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this
is right. (verse 6:1a)
-- Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and
instruction of the Lord (verse 4)
-- Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity
of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of
Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you
know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. (verses 5-8)
Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours
is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him. (verse 9)
1 Timothy 2:8-15
I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing. (verse 8)
-- I also want women
to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good
deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. (verses 9-10)
-- A woman should learn in quietness and
full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. (verses 11-12)
1 Timothy 6:1-2
-- All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters
worthy of full respect, so that God's name and our teaching may not be slandered. (verse 1)
-- Those who have
believing masters are not to show less respect for them because they are brothers. Instead, they are to serve them even
better, because those who benefit from their service are believers, and dear to them. These are the things you are to teach
and urge on them. (verse 2)
-- You must teach what is in accord
with sound doctrine. (verse 1)
-- Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and
sound in faith, in love and in endurance. (verse 2)
-- Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live,
not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their
husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands,
so that no one will malign the word of God. (verses 3-5)
-- Encourage the young men to the self-controlled. In
everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech
that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. (verses
-- Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please the, not to talk back to them,
and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching aobut
God our Savior attractive. (verses 9-10)
The apostle Peter also compiled
a list for living in Christ. (1 Peter 2:13 - 3:7)
In the references above to slavery, substitute the word "employee"
since slavery has pretty much been outlawed in the world. And "employer" instead of the word "master."
Lots to discuss here, as Paul outlines the way we ought to live.
Keep in mind that Paul's pen was
guided by the Holy Spirit, so this isn't really a list from just a man, but rather, someone who spoke with the full authority
of God through the Holy Spirit.
For this reason, this list is not to be minimized as something that is 2,000 years
old and out of date. It most certainly needs to be fresh in our hearts and used as a guide in our lives today.
pray: Oh Lord, I thank you again for sending your Son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins and for the sins of
all mankind. It just boggles my mind that you could love me that much.
I pray that you would guide me through
my days so that I can live to please you and to serve you. I pray for strength and diligence as I go through my days here
I pray for all missionaries, pastors, teachers, counselors and other church workers who bring the gospel
message to others, some overtly, while others in most subtle ways. I pray that their messages of truth and love will bear
fruit in the hearts of those they minister to.
I pray for a Christian leader to be elected to our United States
presidency. I pray that this person will be someone who can calm the unrest in this country and bring us to a more centered
focus on Jesus Christ.
I thank you, Lord, for the gifts of your blessings to us and I pray that I will be given
opportunities to share these gifts with others in building your kingdom here on earth.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Just a reminder: if you do not have a Bible
and would like to read along, go to this web site for a Bible online: http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/index.php?action=getVersionInfo&vid=47
Paul closes down this letter to the Colossians with these words of encouragement in verses 2-5: Devote yourselves
to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim
the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.
Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.
wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace,
seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
My goodness, Paul's message in these
early verses dovetail so beautifully with the message of Christ at the Last Supper -- his new commandment that we love each
other as he has loved us.
Paul says to make the most of every opportunity when we meet outsiders (unbelievers)
and always be gracious to them and our conversation is to be "seasoned with salt" so that they know how to answer
everyone. That, to me, would be the hard part of missionary work. What do you say to unbelievers who just will not be convinced
that their salvation is a gift of grace when they have been raised and indoctrinated that they have to be good, do good deeds,
live a life as sin-free as possible so that they can go to heaven.
All the suppositions come to the surface with
questions like, "Well, then, if I don't have to earn my way to heaven, then can I just do any old thing I want to,
because I'm going to be forgiven anyway?"
There are some who actually believe this. So Paul prays for
opportunities to interject the gospel message into the hearts of these unbelievers and he asks for prayers from the Colossians
as well so that these will not be lost opportunities.
The fact that he was able to discuss this gospel message
in meaningful ways so as to bring unbelievers to faith in Jesus Christ is a testament to how the Holy Spirit works through
us to reach out to others and bring them to faith.
Remember the words I've quoted from a former minister: Remember
the life you lead, you may be the only Bible someone will read. So even if you don't have the courage of an evangelist,
you can still lead your life so that others will know you are a Christian just by the way you behave.
a great encourager of having an active prayer life. This is the power of the Christian's faith.
And if you
can't think of anything you want to pray for, then pray for missionaries.
And if you don't think you deserve
to ask God for anything, then pray a prayer of thanksgiving that you are so blessed that you have what you need. Pray for
those people who have many needs.
But above all, pray. Get into regular conversations with God throughout the day.
You will be amazed to learn that God does care and he does answer. Many times through the day, I whisper in my head, "I
need help with this." And then I get this little lightning bolt of a thought that is just the right answer at just the
Sometimes, if I keep my mouth shut and quiet down all those busy thoughts running around the inside
of my head, I can relax and actually feel a conversation going on. It happens when I'm quiet and I listen. Funny how that
I have a cross reference to Mark 9:50, which also talks about salt: Salt is good, but if the salt has
lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.
Salt not only is a preservative, but it also adds to food a delicious flavor enhancer. Salt makes food more palatable.
So when the Christian talks to an unbeliever about faith and the gospel message of Jesus Christ, I think Paul
wants us to keep in mind that we need to be mindful of what we say and how we say it.
Metaphorically, too much
salt could be a turn-off. Too little salt would leave the taste buds wanting. The Holy Spirit will help you find just the
right amount for the perfect recipe of bringing someone to Christ.
Paul then tells the Colossians about the people
who are surrounding him while he is in prison.
First off, there's Tychicus. We hear about Tychicus in Paul's
Letter to the Ephesians (6:21) -- Paul refers to Tychicus as a beloved brother and a faithful minister in the Lord.
Then there's Onesimus, the slave that Paul was returning to his master in Colosse. They are carrying this Letter to
the Colossians with instructions from Paul that the letter is also to be read at the church in Laodicea, a town about eleven
miles from Colosse.
Paul mentions Aristarchus as a fellow prisoner. My Concordia Study Bible has this to
say about this fellow traveler with Paul (p. 1830) -- A Macedonian, who is mentioned three times in Acts: 1) He was with
Paul during the Ephesian riot (Acts 19:29); 2) Both he and Tychicus were with Paul in Greece (Acts 20:4); and 3) He went with
Paul on his trip to Rome (Acts 27:2).
Aristarchus was a Jew from Greece (Eerdmans' Handbook to the Bible,
Make a special note that Mark is also with Paul. Remember him? He's Barnabas' cousin. There
had been a falling out between Mark and Paul when Mark had deserted Paul at Pamphylia (Acts 15:38). We learn from these verses
in Colossians that this rift has been reconciled.
And then there's Jesus (called Justus). Paul says that these
are the only Jews who are his fellow workers.
Epaphrus is mentioned in verse 12. He is a Colossian. Paul says
that Epaphrus prays for the Colossians that they will be firm in their faith. Paul says he vouches for Epaphrus that he has
been working hard for you and for those in the church at Laodicea and Hierpolis.
And Paul mentions his beloved
friend Luke in verse 14. He stayed with Paul until the end. (Eerdman, page. 613)
Paul sends greetings from Demas
also, even though Demas later defected. A cross reference to 2 Timothy 4:10 reads -- For Demas, in love with this
present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.
Paul acknowledges a woman named Nympha and the church
she has in her house. These early churches frequently met in peoples' homes since they had no constructed buildings in
which to meet. The early Christians frequently relied on the invitation of hospitality of people who opened up their homes
to receive worshipers.
A reference to Archippus says that he may have been Philemon's son (Eerdman, page 613).
Paul wants the Colossians to tell Archippus in verse 17: See to it that you complete the work you have received in the
Paul then closes the letter with the assurance that he has put his personal signature on it.
And so, dear friends in Christ, we close another one of Paul's letters. Rather than start another letter tomorrow, I
would like to discuss the other instances of Paul's "lists" or "codes" that I mentioned in yesterday's
study. There are four in total, including the one in Colossians 3:18-4:1.
The others are in Ephesians, 1 Timothy
Draw this Letter to the Colossians into your hearts and discuss
the many parallels to the commandment of Christ that we are to love one another.
What is the most powerful lesson
you have gotten from this letter? Discuss these topics:
-- the supremacy of Christ?
-- the need to pray prayers
-- to pray for spiritual welfare of others around you?
-- can you recognize false teachers in this
-- rules for holy living?
-- rules for Christian households?
We pray: Oh
Lord, I thank you that I am able to worship you out in the open, surrounded by fellow believers. We live in a society here
in the United States where we take the freedom to worship so much for granted. I am so thankful that I can worship and that
I don't have to hide in someone's house for fear of being seen. Thank you for keeping these freedoms alive in the
I pray for the many readers around the world who do not enjoy such freedoms. I pray for so many
people who worship you in fear of discovery. I pray for their safety and I pray that you would bless their study of your Word.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
In Colossians, we see Paul's heritage
as a Greek come to light. In this chapter, his writing takes on a Hellenistic quality as he weaves a call for a moral code
together with a Christian demeanor. More about that when he begins his "code" in verse 18.
off this chapter with the words "since, then, you have been raised with Christ..."
He didn't say
"if you have been raised with Christ..."
If he had used the word "if" instead of "since,"
then there have been a condition that would make something else happen. Rather, Paul used the word "since" which
carries the certainty of a heavenly union with Christ.
And in Unger's Bible Handbook (page 698), we
are told that since we are risen with Christ, then our walk or manner of life is also to be heavenly.
encouragers for this "heavenly walk" include:
-- set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated
at the right hand of God (verse 1a);
-- set your mind on things above, not on earthly things (verse 2)
-- you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God (verse 3)
-- put to death whatever belongs to your
earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry (verse 5)
-- you must
rid yourselves of all things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips (verse 8)
-- do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which
is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator (verses 9-10)
And when you are able to do all these things,
then you will be walking the "heavenly walk."
Take special note that in verse 10b, there is a reference
to being renewed in knowledge. This is another reference for the Gnostics to realize that our self-knowledge brings
us back to the truth that we are created in the image of our Creator.
Knowledge from earthly experiences will
not bring us to salvation, but claiming the gift of grace through Jesus Christ will.
In verse 11, Paul
makes the point again that as God's people, there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian,
slave or free.
This is a series of contrasts and I want to tell you a little about who the Scythians were,
since Paul compares them as opposites of barbarians.
The Scythians used to be nomads. They lived in old Persia
-- what we'd call Iran today. They were known far and wide as great warriors. They were also super horsemen. Some say
they were the first to tame the four-legged beasts into something useful like riding.
The Scythians ruled far
and wide. Their dynasty went all the way from southern Persia through Syria and Judae and to the border of Egypt. Things were
going along pretty good until the Medes ran them out of Persia. The Scythians then hightailed it on up to southern Russia,
what we call Crimea.
Since the Medes thought that it was so easy to run them out of Persia, they'd go on up
to Russia and take the newly conquested land away from the Scythians. Didn't work. The Scythians were onto the Medes'
fighting tactics and bested them. Ran them off, right and proper. That would be the Persian king Darius I. And if you were
looking up an article in the Persian News Gazette, that would be about 513 B.C.
Well, it must have been a long,
long ride from Persia to Crimea because, along the way, some of the Scythians intermarried with the Greeks. Got a little refinement,
they did. And that is why Paul contrasts the Scythians with barbarians. Their Greek wives probably smoothed out some of the
warrior-encrusted edges of the fierce soldiers. Warriors they were. Barbarians, they were not.
But it raises the point of how these Gnostics got to this corner of the world in the first place. Remember that
the Gnostics originated from middle Asia where enlightenment and all that meditative pondering time was thought to be the
superhighway to heaven.
So here comes Paul, going from one missionary journey to another, preaching that none
of that stuff was going to get you to heaven. Paul was preaching the gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ.
And Paul was preaching in the big middle of Scythians and Jews and Greeks. The Jews were trying as hard as they could
to hold onto their old traditions and holy days and Paul is telling them to go ahead if they want but it's not going to
get them to paradise.
The Greeks weren't going to get their with their "codes" either. Greeks like
to make up what we call "to do lists" in this day and age. They had a formula for everything.
going to see in a few minutes that Paul uses the code method, starting at verse 18. But nowhere in Paul's writings does
he make the claim that a codified style of living will get you to heaven. In fact, Paul very clearly comes back to the gospel
message every chance he gets.
In verses 12-13, Paul makes it perfectly clear what we are supposed to be doing:
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness
and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave
Okay, so it's pretty easy to be compassionate and kind. We just plain old like helping people who
have been thrown down by catastrophes to get back on their feet. We send gifts and food and write checks. We just love to
be compassionate and loving and kind -- to show we care.
Humility might not be so easy. Especially
when we're proud of our compassionate, kind, loving nature. Need to be careful with humility, just so we don't get
to be proud of our humility.
And then comes the biggy. Forgiveness. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
And what did the Lord forgive? Everything that we have ever done. Even our very being is sinful. He forgave that too.
So here's the potential stumbling block: not forgiving others. If our Lord forgave us because we are sinners, don't
you think we can forgive others if they are rude to us, mean to us, not-wrapped-too tight-annoying to us?
as the Lord forgave you -- take out a big diamond bit chisel and carve that onto the granite of your unforgiving heart
if that verse applies to you.
And what a great Bible Study Colossians is in this Holy Week just before Easter.
Just think about how the Lord has forgiven you when you go to church on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, and the great joy
of Easter Sunday when you hear the message of salvation anew.
And then Paul says, in verse 14: And over all
these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
These verses remind me of our dear
departed mother. The greatest gift she gave me was teaching me to forgive. Over the course of many years, she disinherited
me, angrily had her attorney rewrite her will -- writing me out, of course. What I had done was not known to me on many of
the occasions. On other occasions, the incidents seemed minor -- certainly not anything that would warrant disinheriting a
But so she did. And a letter would come that if I called, she'd hang up on me and if I wrote her, the
letter would be forwarded back to me, and if I came to visit, she have the police escort me off her property. With her
taking that position, there was no wiggle room left for me at all. Except I could pray. And pray I did, because I loved her
and I wanted to have a relationship with my mother.
Then would come a letter, or a note, or an "event card"
like Thanksgiving, or Easter, or Christmas or Mothers Day. And the card would be signed, "Love, Mom."
my forgiveness was wrapped around my love for her. And I was glad that I was with her during her final days and weeks, and
then her last hours. I wanted her to know that I loved her and that I had forgiven her. But love superseded all of that. I
learned, through her, how God feels when he forgives us, because he says "What sin? Don't remember that sin. Whatever
are you talking about?"
That's the way forgiveness is. I don't remember all the details of her not
being happy with me. Forgiveness is like a big giant eraser that resets the machine of love again.
If you can
jump over that big stumbling stone of a stubborn, unforgiving heart, then you will know the peace that Paul is talking about
in verse 15. And you'll be able to sing songs of joy because your heart will be filled with gratitude to God.
So then comes the "code" I mentioned earlier. And there was a "code" earlier. But make no mistake about
it, these codes were not stepping stones to salvation. Rather, I think this was a technique in the culture that Paul grew
up in. He learned to be a list-maker from his early education. And if you've ever learned to make lists, you know what
I'm talking about.
I can relate to that somewhat when I remember my training as a paralegal. And even to this
day, I enjoy reading legal documents and case notes when I can get ahold of them. It's a part of training and thinking.
It will probably always be with me, just as critical thinking became operative in that training.
Paul was a list-maker.
No doubt, it was a technique he used to organize his thoughts. The Greeks called these lists a "code." These lists
were meant to be encouragers, or persuasive notes on how to behave.
Paul offers this list:
to your husbands (verse 18);
Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them (verse 19);
obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord (verse 20);
Fathers, do not embitter your children,
or they will become discouraged (verse 21);
Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything (verse 22); and
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will
receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.
So if you knew that
Christ was watching you -- whether from where he sits at the right hand of our Heavenly Father, or if he comes down here to
the earth and walks through the shadows not quite visible but still around us, watching us -- would you act differently?
I wish I were clever enough to be able to say to you that I timed these Bible Studies so that we'd
be walking through Colossians as we get ready for Easter, but I'm not that clever. But this Letter to the Colossians is
rich with Paul's persuasions of how we are to walk a "heavenly walk" while we are here on earth.
has it helped you as you prepare yourself during this final week of Lent and for the message of Easter this coming Sunday?
We pray: Oh Lord, our Heavenly Father, I pray that you would stay in my heart and keep me ever close
to you. I know I drift off and don't think about you as much as I should, or pray to you as often as I should. I thank
you, Lord, for bring me back to the fold of your embrace when I wander.
I thank you Oh Lord for sending your son,
Jesus Christ, to die for my sins. As a mother, I just don't know how you could do that as a parent. But thank you. I pray
that you will never regret saving me from my sins. I pray that you will help me when I need to be forgiving to others. Amen.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Paul gets to his point right away in
these very early verses. And his point is to restate as strongly as he can that salvation comes by grace from God through
Christ. It is a heresy to believe that salvation can be had just by delving into mysteries and gaining knowledge (as the Gnostics
were trying to get the Colossians to believe).
Paul takes an affirmative position and he speaks with the
full authority given to him by the Holy Spirit.
He begins this chapter by telling the Colossians that he
fully empathizes with them in the struggles that challenge them. There are heretics trying to infiltrate the fragile young
churches. These heresies include such false beliefs as asceticism (practice of self-denial), Gnosticism (see notes from March
17), and worship of angels.
Paul is just not going to stand for this interference in the truth of the gospel message
that he wants the believers to know is the real truth. Not like the Gnostics who believed that salvation was theirs through
some kind of special knowledge they received when they figured out answers to mysteries. And then there was the
ascetic variety of Gnostics who believed that the body was evil. It had to be dealt with harshly, punished.
is this ascetic brand of Gnosticism that Paul is going after. Because, you see, if the body is wicked and evil, it doesn't
matter if you break the law or not. Immoral behavior didn't have anything to do with breaking God's law. There were
no consequences for misbehaviors since following the law didn't lead to anywhere. Not following the law went nowhere either.
It was the human being that was evil, not what the person did -- so said the Gnostics.
So that's the
background of this message to the Colossians. Heretics were trying to get a foothold.
Paul uses the pristine
power of his logic. He also used the beauty of poetic metaphors that appealed to the highly literate Greek people. This
letter to the Colossians is rich with the glory of the gospel message he brings from the Holy Spirit. Paul is in good form
and he is more than up to the challenge to refute the heretics! He was not about to let them run fast and loose in
the new churches.
Listen to Paul's choice of words in verses 2-4: My purpose is that they may be encouraged
in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know
the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that
no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in
spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.
So you see, Paul goes
right to the heart of the matter when he says that all treasures of wisdom and knowledge can be found in Jesus Christ. In
and through Christ we will know the mystery of God.
As you read this letter to the Colossians, pay special attention
to how often Paul uses words like knowledge, mystery, and understanding. These words are what the Gnostics put their belief
in, not in the faith of Jesus Christ.
Listen to what the Holy Spirit said through Isaiah in 45:3 -- I
will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God
of Israel, who call you by your name.
and in 1 Corinthians 1:24, Paul wrote: ...but to those who are called,
both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
From Matthew Henry's commentary,
we read: Paul had been bred up in Jewish learning; but the plain preaching of a crucified Jesus, was more powerful than
all the oratory and philosophy of the heathen world. This is the sum and substance of the gospel. Christ crucified is the
foundation of all our hopes, the fountain of all our joys. And by his death we live. The preaching of salvation for lost sinners
by the sufferings and death of the Son of God, if explained and faithfully applied, appears foolishness to those in the way
The sensual, the covetous, the proud, and ambitious, alike see that the gospel opposes their favorite
pursuits. But those who receive the gospel, and are enlightened by the Spirit of God, see more of God's wisdom and power
in the doctrine of Christ crucified, than in all his other works.
God left a great part of the world to follow
the dictates of man's boasted reason, and the event has shown that human wisdom is folly, and is unable to find or retain
the knowledge of God as the Creator.
...The message of Christ, plainly delivered, ever has been a sure touchstone
by which man may learn what road they are traveling.
Read more: http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=54&source=2&seq=i.53.1.3
So Paul is telling the Colossians to continue to live in Christ, the same Christ they received as their Lord and
Savior because it is this strength that will flow into their lives.
Paul especially wants them to be aware that
they need to be careful not to let anyone take them captive with hollow and deceptive philosophies which depend on human tradition
and worldly principles rather than on Christ (verse 8).
In verses 9-10, Paul gets to the very core of Gnostic teaching
when he says: For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ,
who is the head over every power and authority.
In a nutshell, here's how Paul refutes the Gnostics'
arguments (Concordia Study Bible, page 1828):
"Paul declares that the Christian is complete in Christ, rather
than begin deficient as the Gnostics claimed. This completeness includes the putting off of the sinful nature (v.11),
resurrection from spiritual death (vv. 12-13)
forgiveness (v. 13)
deliverance from legalistic requirements
and from evil spirit beings (v. 15).
In verses 16-18, Paul adds these cautions:
Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration
or a Sabbath day.
These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person
goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.
then Paul argues why would anyone who belongs to Christ worry about submitting to all the earthly rules that are dictated
by these other false teachings, like "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!
Paul says these are all
destined to perish with us, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance
of wisdom, with the self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value
in restraining sensual indulgence (verses 22-23).
I see an interesting footnote in my Concordia Study
Bible on page 1829: A rather detailed analysis of the Colossian heresy:
1. It appeared to set forth an impressive
system of religious philosophy.
2. It was, however, a system created by the false teachers themselves ("self
imposed"), rather than being of divine origin.
3. The false teachers attempted to parade their humility.
4. This may have been done by a harsh asceticism that brutally misused the body.
Paul's analysis is
that such practices are worthless because they totally fail to control sinful desires. The false teachers themselves had created
the regulations of their heretical system. They were not from God.
As far as the worshiping angels is concerned,
it is because the Gnostics put knowledge at its foundation of belief, not the gospel message of Jesus Christ. This knowledge
sometimes included the Word of God, and also information that was given to them, they believed, by angels. And astrologers.
And chemistry. They drew a spiritual significance on this information that led to their belief that justification could come
by works of the law. This was a popular belief among the Judaizers who tried to work their "yeast" through the faith
held by believers in the early churches.
Because of the belief that the spirit of a person was trying to get back
to heaven, worship of angels and astrology was a common tenet of Gnosticism, since angels and the patterns of stars and planets
were believed to hold keys to this spiritual journey. The Gnostic system happened to include an emphasis on the Old Covenant
at the expense of Jesus Christ's life, death, and teachings. (http://bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/cgg/ID/76/Angel-Worship.htm)
Discussion: Gnosticism philosophies had their source in the religions of Persia and India (Zoroastrianism
and Hinduism) and that these ideas were brought into the West via Alexander the Great's conquest of Persia. These Eastern
thoughts blended with Greek culture, producing a heady mixture that profoundly influenced the Jews of the time and Christians
centuries later. However, the ultimate source of this "falsely called knowledge" -- as well as the one responsible
for perpetuating these anti-God philosophies throughout time is, of course -- Satan.
Discuss other heresies that
Satan used in the Garden of Eden when he tried to sow seeds of doubt that God could not be trusted. ("Did God really
Satan's second heresy is in Genesis 3:4 -- "You shall not surely die" -- Satan wants
us to believe that we are already immortal, so death has no real power over us.
The third heresy of Satan is found
in Genesis 3:5 -- that by eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, human eyes would be opened -- implying wisdom
and enlightenment allow a person to know good and evil -- just like God.
The Gnostics, then, believe that
because they advance through knowledge, they are the ones who will get up to the spiritual realm because they have the key
to eternal life.
How do these three heresies undermine God's truth and plan for mankind?
be hearing more about Gnostics later as we study the writings of John, for it wasn't just Paul and the early Christian
churches who were exposed to these heresies. They were everywhere. And the disciples and apostles were at war with these false
We pray: I pray, Oh Lord, that you would keep me safe from Satan and all that
I pray that you would guide these studies for all who participate and desire to learn more about you
through your Word.
I pray that your Word would reach to every little corner of this world, so that all living
persons can know you. Amen.
Monday, March 17, 2008
We are not going to get through these four
power-packed chapters of Paul's letter to the church at Colosse without at least an elementary understanding of the
heresies that were beginning to plague Paul's ministries.
These heresies included: ascetism, ceremonialism,
angel worship and gnosticism. Paul addresses them all pretty much head-on.
The Gnostics believed that salvation
was achieved through experiences that added to what a person knew. This was arrived at through a growing intuition, rather
than lecture type information being handed out to students.
Like Buddhism, Gnosticism begins with the fundamental
recognition that earthly life is filled with suffering.
Gnostics do not look to salvation from sin, but rather
sin as a consequence of ignorance.
Knowing what you know of Paul and his passionate strength in the gospel message
we can see where Paul would have a strong disagreement with the Gnostics. He didn't want them anywhere near the faithful
followers of Christ.
It would not be until the 5th century when Christianity would become the state religion of
the Roman Empire. Gnosticism seems to have reached its peak in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, then started dwindling down. This
was primarily because there were a great number of heresy hunters out there looking for them, as well s the Roman Army.
We'll look at the other heresies as we go along here, but if you'd like to read more about Gnosticism, here's
a web site: http://www.webcom.com/gnosis/gnintro.htm that will get you an introduction to this heresy.
Paul sends greetings from himself and from Timothy
who is with Paul in Rome. He also tells the Colossians that he is thankful for their congregation and remembers them in his
prayers. Paul tells them that when he prays for them it is because he has heard of their faith in Christ Jesus and of the
love they have for all the saints -- the faith and love that springs from the hope that is stored up for them in heaven...
Matthew Henry makes this comment in a cross reference to 2 Thessalonians 1:3 -- Where faith grows,
love will abound, for faith works by love. It shows faith and patience...when trials from God, and persecutions from men,
quicken the exercises of those graces...
From where Paul is sitting in Rome under house arrest, he wants the Colossians to know that word has reached him
all that way that their church has a wide reputation of the gospel bearing fruit and growing, just as it had been doing since
the day they first heard about the gospel from Epaphras who Paul describes as a faithful minister of Christ (verse
Paul then offers this most beautiful prayer for the Colossians (verses 9-14): For this reason, since the
day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through
all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and
may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all
power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the
Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
For he has rescued
us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness
Paul is aware of the underlying heresies that are flying about the region of Phrygia where Colosse
is located. He takes a firm stand against these heresies in verses 15-18:
Christ is the image of the invisible
God. This is actually the first time that Paul describes Christ in this way. Not "in the likeness" of God. Paul
wanted people to know that when they had looked at Christ, they were looking at God. Christ became a visible person.
Christ is the firstborn of all creation. And because he was the firstborn of all creation, he had priority over all mankind.
The "thrones, powers, rulers and authorities" listed in verse 16 refers to a hierarchy of angels.
All things, including the angels, were created by Christ and for Christ.
Christ is before
all things. And he holds things together.
Christ is the head of everything and because he is over everything, he
The fullness of God dwells in Christ.
Christ reconciles all things -- on earth and in heaven,
through the shedding of his blood.
Paul reminds the Colossians of just how far they have come in their journey
of faith, in verses 21: Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.
Matthew Henry writes this: A state of sin is a state of conformity to this world. Wicked men are slaves to
Satan. Satan is the author of that proud, carnal disposition which there is in ungodly men; he rules in the hearts of men.
Paul then says that Christ has reconciled us so that we are holy in God's sight, without blemish -- and we
are free from Satan's accusations and lies.
Henry continues with this: A regenerated sinner becomes a living
soul...Sinners roll themselves in the dust; sanctified souls sit in heavenly places, are raised above this world by Christ's
Read Matthew Henry's comments about these two verses at: http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=57&source=2&seq=i.56.2.1
In verse 25 Paul talks about his suffering for the sake of Christ. Paul's sufferings were because he brought
the news of Christ's atonement for all our sins. This verse does not minimize in any way what Christ did for sinners.
The atonement was complete. Paul's sufferings, though, were not complete. Paul was willing to suffer to bring Christ's
gospel to all the world. And in this way, he made Christ's suffering complete in him.
Paul then restates his
apostolic authority as a commission he received from Christ himself. Paul wants the church at Colosse to know that he is a
servant to this commission from God and wants to bring this gospel message in its fullness to the Colossians.
again, in verse 26, he gives a sublet message against the Gnostics when he says that the word of God is presented to them
to undo the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints.
that the Gnostics thought they were the "keepers" of many big secrets and mysteries. The low man on the street just
weren't gifted with these treasured secrets about God.
And here comes Paul who demystifies the mysteries and
even talks about salvation as a gift of grace from God. This was not what the Gnostics wanted the Colossians to believe! Not
even close. The Gnostics believed that people could get to salvation intuitively. Kind of like thinking your way to heaven.
Paul says in verse 27: To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery,
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
So these Gnostics -- who had made a religion out of mysteries --
got out-debated by none other than the powerfully intellectual Apostle Paul who had become a willing vessel of the Holy Spirit,
who assured the Colossians in verses 28-29: We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that
we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works
And there's the one-two punch for Christianity!
you see how Paul's prayer for the Colossians counters the Gnostic beliefs, especially where salvation is concerned? Look
to verse 12 to help you solidify your answer.
Take a few moments to talk about how Christianity went from a few
close followers of Christ to become the state religion of the Roman Empire! How in the world did that happen in just a few
short centuries. What role did the martyrdom of all the disciples, except John, play in this?
Dear heavenly Father, I pray for the safety of all your ministers who carry your message of grace and the gospel
message of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the world. I pray that you would guide them in their work and keep them safe.
And I pray for the safety of their families also.
I pray that your message will continue to flow through your missionaries.
And I pray for all those people here in our own country who know of Christ but who do not live their lives according to his
will. Especially now, in this holy season, I pray that the love of Christ and the knowledge of his death on the cross
will touch sinners everywhere and that they will claim the resurrection truth of forgiveness. Amen.
Friday, March 14, 2008
This is a short letter -- only one chapter
that contains these twenty-five verses.
Philemon is a citizen of Colosse, Phrygia (now part of Turkey), and
it's generally held that this letter was written about the same time as Paul's Letter to the Colossians, and that
this letter to Philemon was carried by the same person or persons.
The letter surrounds the matter of Philemon's
runaway slave, Onesimus. Paul had met Onesimus and converted him to Christianity. Exactly how they came to know one another
is not certain. But since Paul is imprisoned, it could well be that Onesimus had become a captured slave and that he met Paul
while he, too, was in prison. Onesimus, in accepting that he was a slave, is returning to his owner, Philemon. But Paul is
asking Philemon to accept Onesimus as a son of Paul and as a brother to Philemon.
Note though that Paul did not
ask Philemon to free Onesimus and truthfully, we don't know for sure how the story ends once Onesimus gets back to Colosse.
But Ignatius of Antioch does mention Onesimus as the Bishop of Ephesus in the early second century. It could well be that
Onesimus is given his freedom and begins a journey that expands Paul's missionary work by preaching the gospel of Christ.
It's always been curious to me that this short letter is included in the canon. I mean, were there other such
letters that Paul may have written to other people in other churches that were not included. Perhaps because the letters were
But this letter has survived and because it makes a profound statement about reconciliation as well as a belief
in Christ bringing a changed relationship within the individual believer, it is included in the Bible texts.
telling the Philemon that Timothy is still with him while Paul is imprisoned, Paul identifies the recipient of this letter
as Philemon, a dear friend and fellow-worker, as well as Apphia (thought to be the wife of Philemon) and Archippus, a fellow
soldier and to the church that met in their home. Archippus is widely supposed to be either a son or sibling of Apphia. Tradition
has it that Philemon, Apphia, Archippus and Onesimus were stoned to death during the reign of Nero. (Lockyer, Herbert, All
of the Women of the Bible,Zondervan Publishing Company, p. 31)
If this is true, and since Nero died in 68
A.D., then it is at variance with Onesimus being the Bishop of Ephesus in the early second century. It could also mean that
Onesimus was in Ephesus when the Nero-thugs rounded up Philemon and his household for execution in Colosse.
we do know from this letter to Philemon is that Onesimus is a runaway slave who has been converted to Christianity by Paul.
And Onesimus is going back to his master Philemon.
Paul intervenes with this letter and appeals to Philemon to
accept Onesimus as a brother, just as he would accept Paul as a brother, because Paul and Onesimus were fellow soldiers.
Let's listen to what Paul says to Philemon in what Martin Luther called "Holy flattery" in verses 4-7:
I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love
for all the saints. I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every
good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the
hearts of the saints.
In verse 8, Paul goes to the core of his purpose in writing this letter -- and that
is to ask for a re-entry for Onesimus into Philemon's life.
Note that Paul does not plead for Philemon to free
the slave. But Paul does say he could be bold and order Philemon to do so. Rather, Paul says he's appealing to Philemon
out of love.
In verse 11, Paul says, Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you
and to me.
A play on words? "Onesimus" means "useful" in Greek.
he's sending this slave back to Philemon even though he would have liked to keep Onesimus with him to take Philemon's
place while he was in chains. Paul isn't demanding that Philemon do anything. Paul isn't making any claims that
his spiritual mission gives him any civil authority in this matter.
Ah, but there's the appeal to Philemon
in verse 14: But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do will be spontaneous and
Then Paul adds this as perhaps a purpose, verse 15-16: Perhaps the reason he was separated
from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good -- no longe as a slave, but better than a slave, as
a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.
here comes the strength of Paul's appeal: So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If
he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it
back -- not to mention that you owe me your very self. (verses 17-20)
Well, I don't know about you,
but it would be very difficult for me to turn away from this thought.
And then, Paul adds in verse 21: Confident
of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.
Well, Paul didn't actually
come right out and make a direct request for anything. But it was stronger than a "Just think about it," thought.
And then, if Philemon had the idea that he'd just forgive Onesimus and welcome him back as a slave -- rather than press
charges against him as a runaway slave -- which was punishable by death in those days -- that idea was flying out the window
Paul had great diplomatic skills, don't you think? I'll just bet Philemon did exactly what
Paul wanted him to do.
And before you know it, Paul is telling him to get the guest bedroom ready because Paul
had every plan to come for a visit as soon as he got this little legal entanglement behind him and was out of prison.
Then Paul closes this short letter and adds some other prisoners to the list of people who send greetings to Philemon.
These workers include Mark and Luke as well as Aristarchus, Demas and Epaphras.
What impresses you as you read this short Letter to Philemon?
I am always reminded when I read about Paul and
his missionary work and pastoring to the early churches that he was tied to real history. Nero was very much a living being
who died in 68 A.D.
There's some debate as when Paul actually died, but there are probably more references
to 67 A.D. than any other date. To me that means his death was Nero's doing.
Do you think the outcome of spreading
the gospel message would have been different if all the disciples and apostles had been willing to go into hiding until there
came a safer time to come back out into the open?
How do you think it would have been different?
do you think it says about a truth that's being preached when everyone is willing to face even death rather than give
up the message of Christ?
We pray: I thank you Lord for prospering Quint and me and for allowing
us to do your work. I thank you for your grace which shines through our lives. I pray that you would bless our friends and
relatives -- we love them all and we thank you that you have put them in our lives. I pray that we may be a blessing to them
and to all who cross our the paths of our lives this day.
We especially pray for our son Dean for a return to
health. He has so much to offer so many. We pray also for his wife Diane so that she can return to the health of physical
We thank you Lord for the rich blessings our our daughter Teri and her husband Rick who are shepherding
groups at work on a rebuilding project in New Orleans. We pray for each of them who are working so hard for the people
who have lost their homes and everything they had before Hurricanes Rita and Katrina roared in from the gulf winds and wrecked
their lives. We pray for a safe return to their home church in Sand Point, Idaho.
We pray for our daughter,
Sharon, and her husband Ron and their children -- Jerry and Heather -- for peaceful journeys through life together.
And for our son, Vern, and his wife Erin as well.
We pray for continued blessings in the building project at
our church, Faith Lutheran, in Shumway, Illinois. We pray that this addition will be used to grow your kingdom here on earth
and that many people will be blessed by an expanded ministry in this added space.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Paul continues his assurances to the Philippians
that they are honored and much loved in Paul's memory. As Chapter 3 closed, Paul admonished the Philippians to follow
the course that he had set for them in their faith practices.
One of these faith practices was prayer.
Matthew Henry makes these comments: Out of Christ, the best saints are sinners, and unable to stand before
God. Inward peace springs from a sense of divine favour. And there is no grace and peace but from God our Father, the fountain
and origin of all blessings.
At Philippi the apostle was evil entreated, and saw little fruit of his labour; yet
he remembers Philippi with joy. ... People are dear to their ministers, when they receive benefit by their ministry. Fellow-sufferers
in the cause of God should be dear to one another.
But there appears to be some discord between two women -- Euodia and Syntyche. Paul pleads with these two women
to find some common ground for an agreement between them. After all, they had worked side by side with Paul when the apostle
was in Philippi. Something happened. Perhaps one of the women was too headstrong. The passages that refer to their are not
What we do know is that their disagreements are very disturbing to Paul. Paul wants these two women to focus
their energy on the work of Christ's gospel message. There had been a time when such was the case when they worked right
alongside Paul, as did Clement, as did other workers who are not specifically named. These workers' names are written
in the book of life (verse 3).
This Clement in verse 3 is traditionally thought to be the same Clement who
became the pope and Bishop of Rome in 88 A.D. He died in 99 A.D.
Paul tells the Philippians to rejoice and
continue in prayer. It's a message that is just as powerful for us in these modern times -- Let your gentleness be
evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayers and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God. And the peace of god, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds
Christ Jesus. (verses 4-7)
This admonishment of Paul's is clear in this cross reference to Psalm
37:5 -- Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
Paul then gives the Philippians a
kind of "laundry list" of how to behave and closes his admonition with this thought in verse 9: Whatever you
have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me -- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Paul had been the gold standard of role modeling the Christian life and he wanted the Philippians to go forward
in their faith practices, using him as a benchmark.
And now comes the Philippians -- the people from the church
in Macedonia -- who finally are able to make a trip to Paul bearing gifts. For whatever reason, they had not been able to
make their way to Paul before this time, but now they are here.
Do you remember how Paul made such happy references
to the church in Macedonia when he wrote his second letter to the Corinthians? Here's the reference: 2 Corinthians
11:9 -- And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied
Paul then tells the Philippians that he knows all too well what it's like to be in need and
that he has learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in
plenty or in want. (verse 12)
Then comes this capstone verse that we all so familiar with as Paul restates his
great faith in Christ, in verse 13: I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Oh to have
And now Paul reminds the Philippians of his thanksgiving and gratitude for their support of his
missionary work, for even when Paul was in Thessalonica, the Philippians sent aid again. Now the Philippians have sent Epaphroditus
with yet more gifts. Paul says these gifts are ...an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your
needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Then Paul closes the letter and sends greetings, as
is customary in the tradition of Greek letter-writing. These tidings come from Paul and the brothers who are with him, all
the saints, and especially those who belong to Caesar's household (verse 21).
In your discussion with this chapter and the Letter to the Philippians as well, talk about your prayer life.
Are you reluctant to ask God to bless you? Remember that God wants to hear from us about what we need. It's true
that he is all-knowing and you may think he has your needs all figured out, but he really wants and needs to hear about that
direct from you.
Do you thank God for all the blessings he has given to you? Paul says we should constantly be
praising and thanking God for what he does for us.
Above all, remember that God wants to hear from you. If you
are a parent, do you remember the times when you made a favorite meal for your kiddos? And you watched with such glee when
the children obviously were enjoying the meal.
Did your child or children get up from the table and just walk out
of the kitchen? Would you feel the same way about the whole meal if they came up to you and gave you a big hug and said, "Thank
you for making my favorite supper for me."
You knew they were enjoying the supper. That was obvious. But it
still felt good to hear them say it.
I remember when my mother was still living -- how she'd spend the best
part of a week getting everything lined up for our arrival. She'd make sure she cooked my favorite foods that she remembered
from when I was a kid. And she'd spend a lot of time preparing as much in advance as she could so that she could sit and
visit with me.
Do you think I acknowledged her effort and gave her thanks? You bet I did.
God is like that too. He sees us, watches us, but still would like to hear us give thanks.
We pray: Dear
Heavenly Father, I thank you that I can come before you direct. I thank you that you want to hear from me and that I do not
have to go through an intermediary.
I pray that you would bless all our children as they make their way through
their lives. Be with them and watch over them, for they have challenges they are working through also.
I thank you for all you do for me and for all the blessings you gift me with. Most of all, I thank you for the gift of your
son Jesus Christ, whose death on the cross guaranteed my salvation. That must have been so hard for you to send him to earth
to die for all of mankind, me included. I thank you so much for that. Amen.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
BIBLE STUDY: Philippians 3:1-21
says as he opens this chapter.
Matthew Henry says this: "We should rejoice more if we prayed more. Prayer
will help forward all lawful business, and every good work. If we pray without ceasing, we shall not want for thanksgiving
in every thing. We shall see cause to give thanks for sparing and preventing, for common and uncommon, past and present, temporal
and spiritual mercies. Not only for prosperous and pleasing, but also for afflicting providences, for chastisements and
corrections; for God designs all for good, though we at present see not how they tend to it."
says, "We should abstain from sin, and whatever looks like sin, leads to it, and borders upon it."
So Paul is going to restate some of the things that he has talked to the Philippians about when he ministered
to them in their presence, so he says in verse 1: ...It is not trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and
it is a safeguard for you.
Well, sure. Reiterating or restating something is generally a safeguard.
Just in case a person might have misinterpreted or forgotten some little detail, restating a point makes sure that
nothing gets lost.
Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh,
Paul says in verse 2.
I have a cross reference to 2 Corinthians 11:13-14 -- For such men are false apostles,
deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles for Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an
angel of light.
Paul uses a strong comparison to these false apostles by calling them "dogs." Paul
then describes himself in verses 3-6 when he recounts his being a Hebrew from the tribe of Benjamin, and a Pharisee who was
a zealot -- how he hunted down the Christians and persecuted them. In essence, he was saying "So what? None of that got
me anywhere and it wasn't even important because having faith in Christ is what it's all about."
what Paul says in verse 7-8b: But whatsoever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more,
I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost
Paul then says that he figures everything is rubbish unless it helps him gain Christ.
Paul says he doesn't come to righteousness on his own from the law, but that which is through faith in
Christ -- the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. (verse 9)
Actually restates this powerful
message of righteousness many times in this letter and other letters as well. It is through this restatement that Paul says,
in verse 1 of this chapter, that there is a safeguard for the Philippians and all believers.
I take that to mean
that we must never ever get the idea that we can earn our salvation. But because we are gifted with the grace of salvation,
we will want to work for Christ and for building God's kingdom. We are saved by grace whether we ever host a Bible Study
or a Prayer Group, or prepare an altar for worship on church services, or for that matter, never even attend church.
Going to church on Sunday doesn't make you a Christian any more than eating at McDonalds makes you a cheeseburger.
But because you are saved, you will want to get yourself to church where you can worship and praise God in an assembly
with other believers.
Paul speaks words of encouragement to the Philippians when he says in verse 10: I want
to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his
death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Paul absolutely believed that because
Christ rose from the dead, that we who die will also be resurrected. Paul must have wondered if he were nearing the end of
his life for he was imprisoned, though he had not been brought to trial yet. Christ had been brought to trial much quicker
and put to death. But here Paul sat, month after month, in prison.
Because Paul was a ponderer, a contemplater,
he must have wondered if he would be martyred for his faith in Christ and for preaching the gospel message. I wonder greatly
what his deep, private thoughts were when he came to his deep meditative moments of union with Christ. I wonder if the same
Christ who once said, "Paul, Paul, why are you persecuting me?" would now say, "Paul, Paul, have faith. I'm
with you. All will be well for you."
He wants to assure the Philippians that he is ready to die for Christ
because he believes that death is not the end of the story. After death comes resurrection, and he's ready to be with
Christ, or ready to continue his ministry -- whatever it is that God wants Paul to do, Paul is committed to doing.
Although Paul does not consider himself as perfect, (verse 12), he does think that he is a mature Christian (verse 15).
Because of his mature faith, then, he is eager to go press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called him
heavenward in Christ Jesus (verse 14).
Paul often refers to the Greeks' athletic prowess in his writings.
There are races to be won and prizes to be had. After all, it was the Greeks who gave us the Olympics. But the prize, in Paul's
view, was not the laurel wreath, but rather, the grace of heaven's gift. That was the prize worth having!
says this in verses 20-21: But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus
Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that
they will be like his glorious body.
Matthew Henry brings these comforting words in his commentary: The
Lord is able to give peace to the troubled conscience, and to calm the raging passions of the soul. These blessings are given
by him, as the father of his redeemed family. It is our Saviour who says, Let not your heart be troubled. All comforts come
from God, and our sweetest comforts are in him.
...He is able to bind up the brokenhearted, to heal the most painful
wounds, and also to give hope and joy under the heaviest sorrows. The favours God bestows on us, are not only to make us cheerful,
but also that we may be useful to others.
He send comforts enough to support such as simply trust in and serve
him. If we should be brought so low as to despair even of life, yet we may then trust God, who can bring back even from death.
When I think of someone dying, I often have a view of God sitting
on his throne in heaven, looking down at the folks who are grieving. And wondering why such tormented anguish when a dying
person is finally able to get out of a cancer-saturated body, finally being free to run about with no pain or hindrance of
any kind. And being reunited joyfully with Jesus Christ and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit.
When we mourn,
we mourn because we have lost someone we love -- and the loss is ours because there's an empty spot that the person left
I recently lost my sister, and a couple of years before that, my mother. Yet both of these women were
overjoyed in their last days of living that they would soon be with Jesus Christ. After I had, in essence, said goodbye to
their physical selves, I could almost get a sense of their spiritual selves taking charge when they talked to me.
I no longer anticipated their deaths with the fear of losing them, but rather, I sensed their excitement for their
journey to heaven's other shore.
When Paul is writing this letter to the Philippians, he is within his last
decade of life. Tradition has it that Paul died near 67 A.D. That would mean death would come to him within five years of
the time that he writes this letter.
Do you get a sense that Paul is closing in on the subject of his death more
and more -- that he is getting ready to close out this phase of his life where he worked so hard to further the gospel of
Christ -- and on into heaven where he would spend his spiritual life worshiping and praising God?
Keep this in
mind that Paul may be getting ready to cross a threshold of thought at he sits in prison, wondering if his time is getting
nearer and nearer.
We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you so much for bringing us these powerful
messages from your servant Paul.
I pray that you would send me encouragement when I feel frustrated by the things
that cause anxieties in this life.
I pray that you would bless me and all whom I love so that we can grow
in the strength and knowledge that -- in the final analysis -- life here on earth is nothing compared to the joy that awaits
us in heaven. But life here on earth is filled with trials we must all endure so that our faith will be tempered with the
wisdom that your Holy Spirit gives us. Amen.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
Today's the day -- your congressionals
at work. The House starts debate on the hugest, most magnanimous budget ever!
And in this election year when all
the candidates make claims to reduce taxes, to raise taxes, to leave taxes in a flat line -- let me remind you that everything
done to taxes must begin in the House Ways and Means Committee.
This new budget bankrolls billions of dollars in
pork projects, reinstates the marriage penalty and reduces the child tax credit by $500 per child (is this through the
SCHIP line item).
And if you think gas prices are high now, there's a new 50 cents a gallon hike to fund
a plan to eliminate global warming.
What's ridiculous is that global warming stopped in 1998. Global
warming is a climate cycle change. John Coleman, the meteorologist who initiated and later sold his interests in The Weather
Channel says that global warming is not caused by man. He is joined by an increasing number of scientists around the
Coleman calls it the greatest scam in history. http://media.kusi.clickability.com/documents/Global+Warming+is+a+Scam1.pdf It's Coleman's position that global warming is a function of sunspot activity, not man's cause.
And an extra nickel in federal gas taxes to fund repairs to bridges and roads.
Eliminates the home mortage deductions.
In essence this amounts to a tax increase on all homeowners since the feds want to take away an already-in-place deduction.
http://johnboehner.house.gov/Issues/Issue/?IssueID=3943 -- John Boehner is House Minority Leader.
In total, this new budget increases the federal budget by $392.5
Now, keep in mind that this budget belongs to the 110th Congress which is a Democrat majority. So the blame
can't be laid at the threshold of the White House. Maybe I ought to watch C-Span today. Make a big bowl of popcorn and
just watch these yokels debate this budget request.
And somewhere in there is probably a big juicy raise for themselves.
Since most people, including me for sure, do not sit in front of their TVs watching C-Span, we rely on the news of
what's going on in Washington, D.C. to be delivered to us through the news. Except that we don't get news news anymore
-- it's mostly predigested and spit out as political rhetoric and it gets filtered through biases of the media owners.
This is called "managed news" and it's something that all politicians deny deny deny.
But what are you going to do? Telling the truth may get you sued.
Take for instance Lisa Presley -- the
King's daughter. She's pregnant and more than slightly overweight. The Daily Mail, a UK paper, said
she was "fat." She says she was just getting ready to announce her pregnancy when the newspaper made all these comments
about her weight. That hurt her feelings and now she wants an apology. And, oh yes, money for damages. For what, tissues?
Hey, Lisa, call Jenny. Being overweight is not caused by being pregnant.
We made such good progress on the guest bedroom yesterday that I'm inspired to continue today. Just
remember -- anytime you have a big project, break it down into half hour segments. Just work for a half hour on any big project
-- then quit for the day. You'll be motivated to continue the next day. (Except for my desk, which I work on in 15
Quint has also announced that we are out of his favorite Soda Bread, so that will be an afternoon
project. And more knitting.
Quint also wants to go looking at another car. He wants to change cars before we go
interstate surfing again.
As far as the Gov. Spitzer sex/prostitution scandal is concerned and whether I was surprised,
all I can say is that I'm never surprised when it comes to what politicians do.
Just remember the old rule
of psychobabble -- be wary of what people accuse you of. It very often if them projecting what they dislike most in themselves.
So what has Spitzer been running around yelling about for his entire career? Corruption and vice and "Elect me and I'll
clean up this mess!"
That's all well and good, but first, get the plank out of your own eye. Or, as someone
once said, "People who live in glass houses should change clothes in the basement."
So, if someone calls
you a liar -- or if someone vehemently accuses you of just about anything, pay close attention. They may just be telling you
what they dislike most in their inner core beliefs.
HERE'S SOME HISTORICAL SNIPPETS
I HAVE RECEIVED FROM KENTUCKY BUDDIES -- PAT, BILL, and CAROLINE
Everyone who knows me knows that I grew
up in that beautiful part of western Kentucky known as the Jackson Purchase. It hugs the Ohio River as it heads west
and blossoms in the spring when the Dogwood and Red Bud explode into full court bloom. Jonquils and tulips are everywhere
-- all over town. Hydrangea and spirea bring feasts of visual pleasure every time I come back to my hometown in
The only journalism course I ever took was at Paducah Tilghman High School where I was feature page
editor of The Bell.
So, here are some other things about Kentucky that you may not know:
Cave -- 336+ miles of mapped passages -- making it the world's longest cave. It is 379' deep and contains
at least 5 levels of passages. It's second only to Niagara Falls as the most popular tourist attraction.
First enamel bathtub was made in Louisville in 1883.
Bibb lettuce was cultivated
by Jack Bibb in Frankfort in 1896.
The Chevolet Corvette is manufactured only in Bowling Green.
Kentucky was the first state on the western border to join the Union -- 1816.
Fort Knox holds more than $6 billion worth of gold -- the largest amount stored anywhere in
And there's more for tomorrow and the next few days. Thank you Pat, Bill and Caroline for sharing
so many things about Kentucky that I'm proud of!
BIBLE STUDY: Philippians 2:1-30
Paul starts off a wonderful message in this chapter -- verses 1-2: If you have any encouragement from being united with
Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy
complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
Matthew Henry has a
cross reference to these passages to Romans 15:30 -- I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love
of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf.
Matthew Henry offers this comment
about these passages: ...If we have experienced the Spirit's love, let us not be wanting in this office of kindness
Those that would prevail in prayer, must strive in prayer. Those who beg the prayers
of others, must not neglect to pray for themselves.
And though Christ knows our state and wants perfectly, he
will know them from us. As God must be sought, for restraining the ill-will of our enemies, so also for preserving and increasing
the good-will of our friends.
All our joy depends upon the will of God . Let us be earnest in prayer with
and for each other, that for Christ's sake and by the love of the Holy Spirit, great blessings may come upon the souls
of Christians, and the labours of ministers.
Well, this answers the question I've heard a lot from spiritually
disconnected people who say that if God knows everything, then he ought to know what they need -- so why bother with prayer?
The truth is, God wants to hear from us. He wants to know what we want. He wants us to talk with him.
don't have to be stilted and formal. How many times I've started out with, "You know what I need" or "I
can't do this by myself," or "If you really want me to do this, please give me strength -- because I'm so
tired" or "Are you sure I can do this?"
I think God likes those sincere prayers that come up out
of honest questions. And I've been amazed many, many times by God's answers to my prayers. He delivers lightning bolt
solutions that seem to say, "But you didn't consider this, did you?"
Paul continues his message with
an admonition that believers ought to refrain from selfish ambitions and vain conceits -- but rather, adopt a behavior of
humility where others are concerned. Paul says to look after other people and not be so focused on ourselves.
fact, Paul says Christians should be more Christ-like. Just think about what Christ did. Here he was, holy and perfect and
without sin. And yet, down to earth he came when his father told him to. And even though Christ is God himself, he came down
here as servant -- and he stayed in this servant role all the way til his death on the cross.
was none other than the Son of God. And what does God want us to do?
Paul says, in verses 9-11: Therefore God
exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should
bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the
I have a cross reference to Matthew 28:18 -- And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority
in heaven and on earth is given to me. ESV
I also have a cross reference to Daniel 7:14 -- And to him
was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an
everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
kingdom is forever. His kingdom will not be destroyed.
So Paul admonishes the Philippians to continue to work in
his absence. Paul uses the term in verse 12 to ...work out your salvation with fear and trembling...
some will say that this verse 12 means that we can get salvation through good works. Even despite Paul's vehemence to
the contrary, there are those who would insist. However, this clause is a dependent clause that rests on the rest of this
verse: ...for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
That is to
say that once we are saved, we no longer behave the way we did before salvation was gifted to us through God's grace.
We act the way God wants us to act. We do kind things for others. We forgive others who have been pestering our sense of spiritual
comfort. Their silly little antics don't bother us anymore because we become more tolerant of others when we take Christ
into our hearts.
So, for sure, work hard in your salvation. Because it is hard work to be a Christian. It's
a lot easier to just puff up and blow up and think we're better than some people. Some people find it easier to nurse
a hangover on Sunday morning than go to church. But that refusal to over-indulge in the first place is about making a choice
in favor of acting like God wants. Making the right choices -- that is, the choices that God wants, is often challenging.
But back to our story. Paul is commending the Philippians for being obedient -- whether he's there to watch
them or not. And he wants them to know that he's proud of them -- so very proud of them.
These next couple
of verses sound like they could be about us today: Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become
blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the
universe as you hold out the word of life -- in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for
nothing. (verse 14-16) NIV
Read Paul's message here and take it to heart, lest we all become part
of a "crooked and depraved generation..."
Paul closes this chapter with the message that he hopes to
send Timothy to minister to the Philippians as soon as things go along to where Paul can release Timothy for a bit. Paul says
that he really doesn't have anybody like Timothy who as such an interest in the church at Philippi and for the welfare
of the people as well.
And lest there be any doubt, Paul says that Timothy has treated him like a father and has
served in the work of the gospel (verse 22). Paul even says that he's confidence in that Lord that he will be able to
get back to Philippi also.
Then there's this matter of Epaphroditus. I believe that this is the only reference
to this individual in Paul's writings. We aren't given any real details as to what has been going on that would make
Paul tell the Philippians that Epaphroditus almost died in his work of Christ.
Apparently Epaphroditus has worked
hard and long -- burning the candle at both ends, so to speak. To the point where he may have neglected his physical health
and become ill in the process. It sounds like word got back to the Philippians that their good friend was very ill and they
became enormously concerned about this. Paul, therefore, wanted Epaphroditus to go back to Philippi to show the folks that
he had recuperated and was doing just fine.
Does this chapter help you
forgive yourself for your humanness when you tend to complain or get into mental positions where you think others are acting
kind of dumb?
In your discussion, whether you are alone or in a group, think of ways that you can build others
up -- you know, find something kind to say to them.
What does being "Christ-like" mean to you? Do you
think others would describe you as Christ-like and if they do, what qualities to you have that make them think that?
We pray: I pray, Oh Lord, that you would bring me closer to you and help me to behave in ways that are
more to your liking. I know -- in my heart of hearts -- that I don't always do this and I need your help so that I can
cast off the grumbling side of my nature.
I know I can't get away with just saying, "That's the way
I am." Help me, instead, to say "That's not the way I ought to be because it's not Christ-like." Amen.
Monday, March 10, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
And here we are starting a new week! I'm
excited because it looks like the web site is going to go past 104,000 hits in about an hour. Not sure why that matters to
me, but it does. Validation, maybe. We're all looking for affirmation in our little corners of the world.
thank you. Each one of you. I am humbled by your presence. And right now, as we speak, readers from the Czech Republic, Russian
Federation, Brazil, Spain and the UK are logged on and reading us.
I used to post a list of countries from which
I had visitors. Then I got an e-mail from someone in a country in the far east that is not friendly to Christians and they
asked me not to list their country -- for reasons of safety for them.
So it just goes to show you how much I take
the freedoms we have in the United States for granted. And all those freedoms would be owing to our United States military.
So thank you to all who serve in the armed forces of the United States. You're keeping us all strong and free. -- I am
proud of each one of you and I lift you all up in prayer a couple of times a day.
I'm also excited because
Spring is getting closer and closer. As far as our weather goes, here in the middle part of Illinois, this truly must be winter's
last blast. I know I've said it before but this time it's different. The temperatures are actually going up to the
high 40s and 50s starting this afternoon and will stay that way for the rest of the week. I just may take a peek at the roses
that are under those ugly cones. If I see new foliage, I may just take the cones off. That would let the roses start
to harden off. And during the night I could drape them in a big plastic drop cloth to protect them from frosts. We're
not going to be frost free for at least a month or so, but the plastic sheets would be protection enough.
week is going to be devoted to unpacking, rearranging, and taking stuff to the resale shop. We're finally going to get
at a lot of the stuff we brought down here and just parked in the guest bedroom and hallway and office upstairs. I mainly
want guests to feel welcome. We have a number of friends who know all about Lake Sara, which is not too far from here. In
fact, it's practically on our way to church, so if friends decide to come down from Chicago for a weekend of fishing,
I want to at least have a bed that they can get to.
I have a thought that a great deal of the stuff that's
over across the hall in the guest bedroom is going bye bye. We got to a point when we were packing stuff up and sorting through
that we just decided to move it down here and we'd sort it out later. Well, now later has arrived and it's starting
to encroach on my peace of mind. That means it's time to do something about it.
I've been spending too
much time knitting anyway. Need to move around more. And get this folks, I'm embroidering an apron. That means, Quint
says, that I've made the complete transition. He didn't say to what. And I didn't ask. But the apron is white
and is the color of flour. It's one of those embroidery kits that has canning jars full of pickles and jams and says "Eat,
Drink and Laugh." So now I can make bread and get the flour on the apron, not on everything else I touch. Guess I'm
not the neatest cook. I need to work on that.
WARNING TO OUR FRIENDS WHO LIVE IN PHOENIX,
And especially if you like to go out into wilderness areas for big hiking adventures.
rabid mountain lion attacked a 10 year old youngster while the family was out on their ATVs in the Tonto National Forest.
Okay, so this mountain lion was shot by one of the adults in the fun party. But my question is how this mountain
lion got to be rabid in the first place. Did it eat something that was rabid or was it bit?
I'd like to know
how extensive the rabies problem is with other wildlife.
In the meantime, beware. Everybody! Stay safe.
Here's some information from the Arizona Game & Fish Department: http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/game_lion.shtml
Oh, wait a minute. Isn't Phoenix in Maricopa County. And isn't that where Sheriff Joe has all those bad
guys spend their jail time in tents out in the desert? (wearing pink undies, at that)
After reading about these
really big bad cats -- the four-legged ones, not the rapists and armed robbers who are convicted felons -- I wouldn't
want to be out there in the desert for any reason whatsoever!
BIBLE STUDY: Philippians 1:1-30
Paul's Letter to the Church at Philippi is a rather small letter -- only four chapters. But it is powerful
in its joyful message of faith in Jesus Christ. This letter does not have any quotes from Paul of Old Testament scripture.
This could mean that he did not have access to such scripture because he is now imprisoned in Rome.
Just as a
review of how Paul ended up in Rome, by way of Jerusalem, we go back to Luke's Acts of the Apostles, Acts 20:22-24:
And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that
in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing
to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me -- the task of testifying to the gospel
of God's grace.
So Paul goes to Jerusalem. Remember that he has a great amount of funds that the churches
had collected for the poor people who were suffering from famines that were ravaging the countryside at this time. They had
been collecting these funds as an extra offering every week for a year. Just carrying the money from Corinth to Jerusalem
While Paul was in Jerusalem, he was seen in the company of an Ephesian named Trophimus. The Jews
deduced that Paul probably had brought Trophimus into their temple and thus defiled it since Trophimus was a Greek, therefore
a Gentile and Gentiles were not supposed to cross the threshold into the synagogue. They brought Paul up on charges. This
led to an uproar and Paul found himself before the local governor. Things got worse. The Roman chieftain was going to have
Paul flogged. And the members of the Sanhedrin kept the crowd excited to the point where they wanted Paul killed.
Then Paul asked the Roman in charge, "Oh, by the way, you do know I'm a citizen of Rome, don't you?"
This flabbergasted the Roman in charge of his flogging. It was one thing to bind a rabblerouser in chains and get
him ready for flogging. But a Roman citizen? Absolutely not! In fact, the Roman in charge could get in a heap of trouble for
just treating Paul that way.
Well, there were hearings -- back and forth between magistrates and potentates. Finally,
Paul appealed to have his case heard before Caesar. That was his certain right as a Roman citizen.
62 AD. Paul's in Rome. He's coming to the end of his first imprisonment. Timothy is with Paul at this time and apparently
Paul has the liberty to dictate letters which Timothy transcribes. Paul wants to write to the churches he started
on his missionary journeys. In Acts 28:30, we read: For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and
welcomed all who came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus
Christ. This would seem that Paul is under house arrest, waiting for his trial to begin "one of these days,"
and not actually imprisoned.
So Paul writes this collection of letters we refer to as the Prison Epistles
-- there are four: Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians and Philemon.
We turn back to Acts 16:11-15, to learn
more about how this church in Philippi got started: From Troaa we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace,
and the next day on to Neapolis. From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district
of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.
On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river,
where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.
One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who ws a worshiper of
God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. When she and the members of her household were baptized,
she invited us to her home. "If you consider me a believer in the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my house."
And she persuaded us.
Timothy is with Paul when he writes this letter. We see that in the salutation at the
very beginning of this letter when Paul sends greetings from himself and Timothy.
Paul begins his message very
warmly, verses 3-6: I thank God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because
of your partnership in the gospel form the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in
you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Paul tells the Philippians that even if
he is in chains, he has them in his heart and he wants them to know that they continue to share in his ministry of the gospel.
Paul also wants the people at Philippi that he longs for them and holds them in great affection.
Then he offers
a prayer in verses 9-11: And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,
so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit
of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ -- to the glory and praise of God.
Paul then brings them
a comforting word about his being in chains. In fact, his detainment has allowed him to bring the gospel message to many Roman
guards who most willingly accepted Paul's message of salvation. For that reason, Paul says that what has happened to him
has turned out to be a good thing because it has allowed him to preach to the whole palace guard. And also, because of his
arrest and detainment, other church leaders are inspired to preach even more courageously and fearlessly (verse 14).
For those people who preach Christ out of goodwill, they know that Paul is in Rome because of his defense of the gospel.
And even those people who are preaching the gospel message for less than a loving motivation, Paul says in verse 18:
But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.
And because of this I rejoice.
Paul even goes so far as to say that Christ will always be exalted whether
Paul lives or dies. He explains in verses 21-22: For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living
in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me.
On the one hand, Paul yearns to be with Christ, but he
also knows that if he remains in the body -- that is, as long as he continues to live -- he will be able to continue to minister
to all his churches, and particularly, to the Philippians.
He tells them that no matter what happens to him, he
wants the Philippians to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ (verse 27). If they do that, then Paul
will know they are standing firm in their faith. If Paul is able to go to them, that would be great. But if that can't
happen and Paul only hears about the Philippians, that's okay too because he will know that they are standing up to those
who oppose them and are not scared of those who would try to frighten the Philippians.
Then Paul reminds the Philippians
of this in verses 29-30: For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer
for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
referring to the time that he and Silas went to Philippi and were imprisoned.
Philippi was named for Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great. It's a short distance inland by about ten
miles from the port city of Neapolis.
Philippians is filled with messages of joy and thanksgiving. Can you think
what would cause Paul to be thankful (1:5)?
Why do you think Paul believed that his imprisonment was helping his
We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that you guard and protect your servants
around the world who work diligently to bring the saving message of your salvation to so many people. They work in harms way,
as you know, and yet they do so with such joy in their hearts, even while they are mindful of the dangers to their lives.
I pray that you would keep them safe from harm.
I pray that you would help the delivery of food supplies to those
people who suffer from the ravages of famine and who go to bed hungry every night. I pray that you especially keep the children
in your loving care and bring an end to their suffering and hunger. Amen.
Friday, March 7, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
I think it may warm up a bit today. Quint
says it was 28 degrees when he got up. That was at the crack of dawn. I prefer a more civilized time -- like, say 7:30 am
or thereabouts. It was 30 degrees when I got up. I hope that trend continues til about noon!
My daffodils aren't
anywhere near blooming yet, so they need lots of sunshine and lots of cuddly warmth. I have an entire bed of daffodils by
the back door. They're supposed to be pink. They didn't look very pink last spring, but it was their first year so
I'm hoping it was just because they were newly planted. One of the daffodils grew right through a big oak leaf that
had blown onto the bed during the winter. It looked like a collar. Should have taken a picture of it. Oh well, another photo
op memory lost forever.
Our pinochle evening turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to visit with some folks
we only just slightly know from church. So we played six-handed pinochle. The cards fall quite a bit differently with an extra
couple playing. There were a couple of hands when I didn't have a card higher than a king. But I did have one hand where
I actually have four aces, but no meld. The bid had gotten up to 21 and I chickened out. There's only 25 points if I would
have caught every trick. Since I had no idea what, if anything, my partners could be melding, I let the bid go. Was just as
well because the three of us together could only meld one card -- a nine.
But it's all in fun. There's
a lot of good hearted visiting that goes on during a card game. And that's the point. Good marriages need good friends.
BIBLE STUDY: Romans 16:1-27
Paul has gathered to Cenchrea
(sen-kree-e), a port about ten miles from Corinth. In this first verse it appears likely that Paul is entrusting the brilliant
theological treatise of his Letter to the Romans to a Christian woman named Phoebe. He calls her a sister and a service of
I want to share a cross reference to Galatians 4:3-5: So also, when we were children, we
were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman,
born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.
So when Paul calls
Phoebe a "sister," he is referring to her as a member of his spiritual family in which their relationship is based
on the redemption of Christ and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. (All the Women of the Bible, by Herbert
Lockyer, p. 121.)
Lockyer expands his thought to this: "How and when Phoebe became a Christian and a sister
in the Lord, we are not told. What is evident is the manifestation of her sisterly love and labors among her sisters and brothers
In Paul's reference to Phoebe as a "servant" of the church, he uses the Greek word diakonos,
from which we have "deacon" or "deaconness." (Lockyer, p. 121)
From that description of Phoebe,
we can deduce that she could have been one of the first, if not the first, deaconness in the Christian church. I think this
description by Paul is important because much has been made of Paul's view of the role that women should play in the church,
namely, that they should be silent.
Now, I can't pick words apart and give you the technical Greek translations
of the Bible, but what I am curious about is that perhaps there has been much ado about Paul's wanting women to be silent
in church. Clearly, there were important roles for women in the churches. And in Phoebe's instance, Paul was entrusting
her with this most valuable letter that he had written to the Romans.
And in verse 2 he is asking the Romans to
receive Phoebe in the Lord and "in a way worth of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she
has been a great help to many people, including me."
In the third verse, Paul also asks the Romans to give
a good greeting to Priscilla and Aquila, his fellow workers in Christ Jesus. Paul tells the Romans that they had risked their
lives for him. But not just Paul, but also all the churches of the Gentiles who are grateful to these two. (verses 3-4)
I have a cross-reference to Acts 18:2 -- And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from
Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. ESV
us a note on P. 125 of this couple whom Paul loved so much -- "While the last mention of Aquila and Priscilla is to be
found in Paul's Second Epistle to Timothy where they were back at Ephesus about the year A.D. 66 (2 Timothy 4:19), there
is a tradition to the effect that they ultimately laid down their lives for Christ's sake. The 8th of July is the day
set apart for them in the martyrology of the Roman Church when it is said the faithful couple were led out beyond the walls
and beheaded. If this is so it is not difficult to fill in the details of the pathetic picture. Aquila and Priscilla had loved
each other through the years, and together had served the Lord so loyally. Now with eyes so full of unfading love, as if to
say to each other, 'Farewell, fear not!' they were ready for the flash of the blade that sent them home to God, and
to eternal fellowship with Paul, Apollos, and others they had so signally helped.
Lockyer continues, "Paul
gives us a still fuller insight into the passionate desire of Aquila and Priscilla to bind the saints together in fellowship.
To the Corinthians he wrote, 'Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church in their house.' In
Romans, the Apostle sent his greetings to them and to 'the church that is in their house.'
apostolic days, poverty and persecution made separate buildings for worship almost impracticable, and so private, sanctified
homes became the house of God. Aquila and Priscilla consecrated their home to God, as a gathering place for the saints."
Paul continues through verse 15 with a list of Christians whom he wishes the churches in Rome to greet. And in verse
16, Paul says this: Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.
Henry offers this -- "Here are several good exhortations. God is the Author of peace and Lover of concord; he hath loved
us and is willing to be at peace with us. And let it be our constant aim so to walk, that separation from our friends may
be only for a time, and that we may meet in that happy world where parting will be unknown. He wishes that they may partake
all the benefits which Christ of his free grace and favour has purchased; the Father out of his free love has purposed; and
the Holy Ghost applies and bestows."
(Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible is in the public
Paul begins a strong exhortation in verses 17-18: I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who
cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For
such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of
These are powerful words from Paul and they bring a most sincere warning to stay away from false
teachers. These false teachers bring a doctrine that is not centered around Christ but they sound so sure of themselves. Of
these false teachers, Paul tells the Romans in verse 19b: I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about
what is evil.
In verse 20, we read: The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
Concordia Study Bible has a note to this verse: "Satan, the father of lies, is behind all false teachings. This is a
reference to Satan's final doom." (p. 1742)
Paul closes this Letter to the Romans with this most powerful
message in verses 25-27: Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according
to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings
by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him -- to the only wise God be glory forever
through Jesus Christ! Amen.
When Paul refers to "my gospel" he is talking about what has been directly
revealed to him.
There is a cross reference to Galatians 1:11-12: I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel
I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it
by revelation from Jesus Christ.
This mystery that was made known to Paul by revelation is explained more
fully in Ephesians 3:2-6: Surely you have heard about the administration of God's grace that was given to me
for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you
will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as
it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets.
This mystery is that through the
gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ
This concludes our study of Paul's Letter to the Romans. I pray that it has enriched your faith
On Monday we begin another letter that Paul wrote. I believe that, in chronology, it would have been his
letter to the Galatians, but we have studied that letter earlier, so I will have to check the records that I am using to see
which would be the one following Galatians.
If we cannot be great, by God's
grace we may be the means of making others great, says Lockyer.
As you think back to Paul's being surrounded
by so many wonderful people who took him into their homes and cared for him, can you think of a time when you have been
blessed with an opportunity to share your generosity with someone not as blessed as you are.
Depending on where
many of you live in the world, this may be a fairly common occurrence, but here in the United States, we have become more
guarded under most circumstances.
The exception to this happens when choirs come out from church universities,
or faith-based groups gift us with evenings of ministry. Without the generosity of people sharing their homes and tables,
these people could not afford to travel about from church to church the way they do. Truly, if you ever have an opportunity
to welcome one or more of these travelers into your home, I hope that you do it. You will be blessed for your giving.
We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for the opportunity to study Paul's Letter to the Romans.
It brings such a richness to the tapestry of your gospel message. The power of your love and grace flow through the words
of Paul and reach the depths of me. I thank you for this message.
I pray for all the missionaries around the world
who work to bring your message to nonbelievers, or unchurched people. I pray for their safety and health.
for all believers everywhere who put themselves in harm's way to assemble together and learn more about your great gospel
message. I pray that you would bless their studies as they grow in faith and minister to others around them.
pray for Teri and Rick and their friends who have travelled to New Orleans to refurbish homes for those who have yet to be
able to reclaim their homes lost to Hurricane Katrina. Bless their work that they do in your name. I pray that their ministry
will be one of presence and caring as they work in your name. Amen.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
Today I am moving to the Eagles Nest --
that's the name of the office on the second floor. It has my beautiful desk that Quint made me when we first opened the
practice in Tinley Park. And my poor cousin, Butch, happened to be in town that weekend so he got the pleasure of helping
Quint put the top of the desk in place. There were 21 little knob like things that went into holes that Quint had filled with
The desk and matching lateral file survived the move very nicely. After Quint put the desk together,
I promised him I'd never order another kit that had the ill-fated words "some assembly required" on the instructions.
What a bear it was to put together! It is a testament to Quint's patience.
IF YOU HAVE
CURIOSITIES ABOUT WHAT THE CANDIDATES ARE SAYING ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL ABOUT THE HIGH PRICE OF GASOLINE --
IT HAS TO DO WITH THE RISING PRICE OF CRUDE. NOW, WHO KNOWS THE REAL REASON WHY THE PRICE OF CRUDE IS GOING UP? --
NO, IT'S NOT BUSH'S FAULT!
I know there are a great number of readers who don't care much
about the garbage that's on the news -- mainly because it's not news. It's political rhetoric that doesn't
have much basis in fact.
But there are some things that you should all know so I'm going to share them with
you today. That way you won't have to wade through what I'm not even going to say to describe what I think of the
political promises that are presently in orbit around the moon.
Remember those romantic promises of "Elect
me and I'll give you the sun, moon and stars?"
So here's what -- in my opinion -- you might want
to think about.
I'll be the first person to admit that I'm not an expert on foreign relations.
But I'm getting a little tired of our president getting blamed for everything that goes wrong in the world. Remember
a few years ago when there was a huge eruption in oil prices that made the price per gallon go through the roof?
Well, the knee jerk reaction was that it must be George Bush's fault. After all, that was why he wanted to go
into Iraq in the first place. Right?
Couldn't have had anything to do with the giant population countries
of India and China needing more oil for their newly acquired thirst for fuel?
Well, I looked it up. And here
are some real data and places where you can read more, then you'll have facts on hand.
China, with its 1+ billion
population has been increasing its needs on Middle East oil. Its oil consumption hunger is increasing by 7.5% a year -- that's
7 times the growth as the US. China is able to find much of its own oil, but it still imports 32% of its oil needs -- and
more than half of that import figure (58%) comes from the Middle East.
It all started in the 1990s when the Chinese
folks moved from bicycles and mass transit to private cars. As China moves toward industrialization (progress?), private cars
become more affordable. In 2010 China will have 90x more cars driving hither and thither than in 1990!
India also has a billion plus population. In 2002, India became the 5th largest energy consumer in the world.
(They had to bump Germany out of the way.) Whereas India's energy needs were 1.168 million barrels per day in 1990, it
now has sailed past the 2.4 million barrels a day to keep its industrialization needs going.
Currently only 7 in 1,000 people in India drive cars. (In neighboring Pakistan, that stat is 12.) Just wait until
these two countries catch up.
India is the 11th largest energy producer in the world. It's sitting on a huge
oil field that is just starting to be developed.
In 2002, Iraq was producing 1.5 million barrels of oil a day. (Iraq was producing 3.5 million barrels a day when
it invaded Kuwait in 1990.)
Read more: http://www.cfr.org/publication/7707/#2 (CFR=Council on Foreign Relations)
So how does the Iraq stockpile of reserves look? It has 112.5 billion
barrels in its reserves. That compares to 300 billion that the Saudis have stored up.
(According to Brookings Institute,
the Iraq number is correctly at 78 billion barrels. http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2003/0512globalenvironment_luft.aspx)
In 1995 the United Nations imposed sanctions on Iraq which curtailed its sale of oil on the international
market. This was when Clinton was president. These sanctions were eased somewhat in 1996 because -- guess what --here's
a country that sitting on all these oil reserves and they can't even buy food and medicine for their citizens. The sanctions
were terminated in 2003 when Bush was president and humanitarian functions in Iraq were turned over to Iraq's provisional
The only way that Iraq was supposed to sell its oil was through a program known as the oil-for-food
program and it was overseen by the United Nations. It was through this oil-for-food program that the United States became
a consumer of Iraqi oil.
Well, you don't get that many billions of dollars swirling around such a finger smacking
program without attracting corruption. But that's another story and has not what this inquiry is about. Suffice it to
say that there's a lot of finger pointing going on. Still. Even though the United Nations led oil-for-food program
was dismantled in 2003.
Iraq is now working its way through the cumbersome process of getting in as
a supplier nation in OPEC.
And in our own corner of the world, we have our own program going on out in the Gulf of Mexico. To our delight,
we found a huge oil field out in the Gulf of Mexico. It's a 300 square mile area that promises to deliver between
3 billion and 15 billion of barrels of oil.
That's right in our own back yard! Of course, those big rigs sitting
out there on the pond are vulnerable to hurricanes and fires and things. But there are more days when they're pumping
than when they're not. So it's still a good deal.
Then there's all that oil up in Alberta, Canada.
174 gigabarrels to be exact, if those kinds of estimates could ever be exact. Problem is, it's expensive to get at. It
wasn't even profitable to hunt for it and dig it up until oil started selling at $40 a barrel. Now that oil has come
up to $100 a barrel, you can bet there's going to be a hurry to start pumping and building new pipes, and saying "Hey,
you got bucks?" to us friendly neighbors down here in the US.
Which brings me to what I perceive as the real problem.
It isn't about where we buy our oil from.
It's more about where we store it and refine it.
The United States started its oil reserve program in 1975 after the oil embargo in 1973-74. Remember those lines
when you stayed in line to buy a $2 limit of gasoline? Well, at last count, the US has 698.6 million barrels of oil in its
stockpile. And since we use 20 million barrels of oil EVERY DAY, that won't last a really long time.
12 million barrels a day so that supply in our stockpile would last about 57 days.
That won't even get us through spring break when the college students up north head for southern climes. Where
do the southern students go? To Chicago? New York? And since we have a love affair going with our cars, come summer, we're
going on vacation and we'll be driving to somewhere!
Just keep in mind that Bush is going to get blamed
for everything. As President Truman said, "The buck stops here." And all these presidential wannabees better pay
attention because one of the three of them will get to be president.
Then everybody will be blaming them for all
the problems of the world, regardless of what the facts are. And if you think Bush asked Congress for a declaration of war
to invade Iraq -- which he got approval for -- because of oil, think again.
Oh, for sure, you can think that if
you like. But it's just your suspicion. Facts won't back you up. Wouldn't you rather have an opinion based on
real information that's factual? That's the difference between political rhetoric and rational thinking.
My point is, if you consider the data, all these debates started parboiling in the early 1990s. So even though it's
tempting to blame increasing oil prices on Bush, he wasn't president in the 1990s. Bush can't be held responsible
for the industrialization of China, India, or Pakistan either. Or even for building the indoor ski resort in the United Arab
He says he's longing for the day when he can get back to his ranch in Texas. Probably won't
keep the place cleared of rattlesnakes though. If you do that, then the rat population increases. And when that happens, you
get an outbreak of the plague because the fleas that infect you with plague are carried on the rats. Rats are lunch and afternoon
snacks for rattlesnakes.
So you see, only I could tie an article about global oil consumption to rattlesnakes.
BIBLE STUDY: Romans 15:1-33
In the very first verse, Paul says that
we, who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
This verse has a cross
reference to Galatians 6:1 -- Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore
him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
"We, who are strong
..." -- Paul is referring to mature Christians, to those who have made the commitment to live their lives as Christians.
But if there is to be a ministerial confrontation, Paul again says that it ought to be done in a loving manner.
I think we can understand that. I mean if someone is starting to slip away from the truth of the gospel, it might not be the
best idea to hit them over the head with a theological hammer.
It's about building people up -- it's about
edification. And so, in verse 4, Paul says: For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that
through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Paul is applying Psalm 71:20
to his lesson to the Romans on this day: You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from
the depths of the earth you will bring me up again.
Paul then goes on to that this encouragement and endurance
that is gifted from God gives a spirit of unity among them as they follow Christ Jesus (verse 5).
In verses 7-9b,
Paul admonishes the Christians: Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God's truth, to confirm the promises made to
the patriarchs so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy...
There is a thought from Paul that relates
to Christ coming to focus on the Jewish people in his ministry. A note for these verses in my Concordia Study Bible puts it
this way: He was sent to the Jewish people and largely limited his ministry to them. God gave a special priority, so far
as the gospel is concerned, to the Jews --" ...promises made to the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob)." -- From
the beginning, God's redemptive work in and for Israel had in view the redemption of the Gentiles. (page 1740).
And a cross reference to Matthew 15:24 makes this clear: He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep
of the house of Israel."
Paul quotes from 2 Samuel 22:50: For this I will praise you, O Lord, among
the nations, and sing praises to your name.
And from Deuteronomy 32:43: Rejoice with him, O heavens. There's
more to this verse that Paul does not quote. Whether he was working from memory or from a library copy of these passages,
we don't know. But since the Pentateuch -- the first five books of the Bible -- were used in worship at synagogues, there
may well have been a copy available for Paul to use as he writes his letters from Corinth.
I'm going to quote
the rest of this passage from Deuteronomy because it gives a completeness to what Paul started with his quote: ...bow
down to him, all gods, for he avenges the blood of his children and takes vengeance on his adversaries. He repays those who
hate him and cleanses his people's land.
And from Psalm 117:1, Paul quotes: Praise the Lord, all nations!
Extol him, all peoples.
Paul adapts Isaiah 11:10 to message to the Romans: In that day the root of Jesse,
who shall stand as a signal for the peoples -- of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.
(These quotes are from the English Standard Version.)
It's interesting to see how Paul takes
these various Old Testament verses and weaves them into a seamless thought as he writes his Letter to the Romans, verses 9b-12:
Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name.
Again, it says, "Rejoice,
O Gentiles, with his people."
And again, "Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and sing praises to him,
all you peoples."
And again, Isaiah says, "The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule
over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him."
Now Paul reassures the Romans that their hope comes
from God above, in verse 13: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may
overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Paul then tells the Romans that he thinks they are competent
to instruct each other. Then, in verses 15-16, he says: I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind
you of them again, because of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty
of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy
We get an idea of the scope of Paul's ministry when he writes to the Romans that he pretty
much doesn't want to talk about anything else except the glory of God and God's accomplishments through him, namely,
leading the Gentiles to obey God (verses 17-18).
Then in verse 19b, he says that ...from Jerusalem all the
way around to Illyricum (Albania and Yugoslavia) I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.
always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not know, so that I would not be building on someone else's
There is a cross reference to Isaiah 52:15 for this verse: ...so shall I sprinkle many nations;
kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not
heard they understand.
Paul then tells the Romans that he basically is finished with his ministry in this
region, and since he has been longing to visit the Romans for many years, he plans to do just that when he goes to Spain.
Lest there be any doubt as to whether or not Paul intended to take his ministry to Spain, verse 24 affirms his intent
to do just that. Paul says he plans to go on to Spain after he has enjoyed the company of the Romans for a good little while.
But first, Paul says, he needs to take the contributions and gifts from the Macedonians to Jerusalem so that these
gifts can be distributed to the poor.
Then in verse 28, Paul says: So after I have completed this task and
have made sure that they have received this fruit, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. I know that when I come to
you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.
Paul then asks the Romans to keep him in
their prayers. Paul asks for prayers so that he will be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea. And he asks for prayers so
that his service in Jerusalem will be acceptable. And he closes this chapter with God's blessings to the Romans.
What strikes you the most about this chapter?
Is it in the quote from
Isaiah? Does this quote give you assurance that Paul was, indeed, hand selected by Jesus Christ, on the road to Damascus to
do the wonderful things that he did in his ministries?
For sure, we see the selection process of the prophets in
the Old Testament. There was no doubt that God picked special people that he wanted to send out in the world.
at how God used King David. Despite the fact that David committed adultery and even send his lover's husband out to the
front lines in a battle where he'd be sure to get killed. And he was. Then David married his heart's desire. And they
had a baby. And the baby died. Then David realized that what he had done was a grievous sin and he begged for forgiveness.
And all he had to do was ask.
As for Paul, here was a man -- a pharisee -- who went around the countryside looking
for Christians that he could kill. He carried execution warrants on his person so that he could kill Christians on site.
The point is, God selects the people whom he wants to use to spread his story of salvation. God doesn't always
pick people who are pure in heart and transgression-free.
God wants each one of us to tell others about the great
gospel message of salvation. And he equips each of us to do this by granting us spiritual gifts.
Do you use your
gifts to bring others to Christ?
For sure, we can't all be great evangelists like Paul was. But we can do many
things that let others know we are Christian and put the message of faith in front of them.
One very easy way
to do this is to send birthday cards, anniversary cards, get well cards, etc., that have Bible truths included in them. It's
not a big thing but it's a way of thinking that takes us down a different path if we aren't doing this already.
What else can you do?
We pray: Dear Heavenly Father -- I pray that you would show
me how you want to use me in building your kingdom.
I know this may sound silly to you, but I'd like to be
your servant but I don't have a clue as to what you would have me do. What can I possibly do to dedicate my life to your
I pray that you would show me your way. Amen.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
Interesting what's happening in the
Democratic primary race. Had it not been for Obama taking Vermont, Hillary would have had a clean sweep in the four state
Super Tuesday II of Texas-Ohio-Vermont-New Hampshire.
So what does this mean? That for the first time in her adult
life, Michelle Obama is disappointed? I will admit that it was most curious that she made the statement "For the first
time in my adult life, I'm really proud of my country..."
Huh? Can't think of anything that has
made her proud? When exactly did her adult life begin? Well, for starters, she was born in 1964. That would make her
an adult in the decade of the 80s.
How about being proud of the opportunities she has enjoyed as an American? Like,
for instance, being able to get into Princeton University -- where she graduated cum laude. How about graduating
from Harvard Law School?
How about passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- landmark legislation that allowed
her to reach the heights of her educational goals which, in turn, brought her the really big bucks working at the blue chip
law firm, Sidley & Austin, in Chicago. And then on to bigger bucks at the University of Chicago Hospitals where she commanded
a mountain of moolah of $273,618 a year!
Then she married Mr. Obama in 1992 and his senate salary added to hers,
plus all their other "miscellaneous" income from book royalties and her board positions brought them to $991,296!
That doesn't make her proud of all the hopeful opportunities she's enjoyed?
For starters, how about the
Civil Rights Act of 1964. It almost seems as if it was passed in your birthday year for your own hopeful enjoyment, Michelle
I mean, I'm not even an African-American and I'm very proud of the courage that Rosa Parks exhibited
on a bus in the south many years ago.
I'm proud of American technology every time our space shuttle goes up
to the International Space Station to take food and supplies, then turns around to bring the trash back to earth.
I'm proud of each and every American soldier, whether they're Marine, Navy, Coast Guard, Army or Air Force.
They keep our great country safe and I'm proud of them!
Yeah, you're audacious all right. Even arrogant.
It's almost like you took your comment right off the front of your husband's book. But you ought to be careful because
"recklessly bold in defiance of convention," or "unrestrained," will not get you a measuring tape for
the White House drapes.
You guys have eight months to go before the election. That's plenty of time for every
voter in America to discover that you and your husband make nearly a million smackaroos a year. And you're not even proud
of the opportunity that living in this great nation brought to you so that you could do that?
It's just a thought,
but I'm wondering if American voters would rather pull the lever for a presidential candidate whose spouse is proud
of this great nation?
BIBLE STUDY: Romans 14:1-23
Paul continues his theme in these
closing chapters of the Letter to the Romans about how people ought to live their lives in such a way that would be pleasing
In today's chapter, Paul is talking about what people should eat and how they should be treating each
other. It isn't that Paul cares all that much about the preferences of cuisine. Hardly so.
In verse 1, Paul
says: Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.
And what might these
disputable matters be? My Concordia Study Bible says that this is most likely a reference to the fact that the early Christians
had difficulty giving up their traditional diet restrictions that were outlined in Leviticus, as well as other mandates of
And Matthew Henry says, most eloquently: He is the most advanced Christian, who is the most
conformed to Christ. ... He bore the guilt of sin, and the curse of it; we are only called to bear a little of the trouble
of it. He bore the presumptuous sins of the wicked; we are called only to bear the failings of the weak.
not we be humble, self-denying, and ready to consider one another, who are members one of another? The Scriptures are written
for our use and benefit, as much as for those to whom they were first written....
The comfort which springs from
the word of God, is the surest and sweetest, and the greatest stay to hope....
Our Divine Master invites his disciples,
and encourages them by showing himself as meek and lowly in spirit. The same disposition ought to mark the conduct of his
servants, especially of the strong towards the meet.
The great end in all our actions must be, that God may be
glorified; nothing more forwards this, than the mutual love and kindness of those who profess religion.
Paul uses the example of how one man may be a vegetarian, while another may eat everything present at the table.
Just because each man chooses differently does not give one the right to condemn the other.
In verse 4, Paul says:
Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord
is able to make him stand.
I'd like to refer you back to Matthew 10:28 -- And do not fear those who
kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
doesn't really matter what the person to your right is eating. Or to your left. It doesn't matter if you're eating
anything at all. Rather than paying all that attention to what's on someone's plate, Paul says to pay attention to
whether or not your actions are pleasing to the Lord, not what you're eating.
This reference to Levitical law
repeats itself in verse 6 -- He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord,
for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.
This is clearly
the same admonishment that Paul gave to the churches at Corinth -- 1 Corinthians 10:31 -- So, whether you eat or drink,
or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
As to the special days, a footnote in my Concordia Study Bible
says that some believe that this is a reference to keeping the Sabbath, although there are others that believe this refers
to all special ceremonial days that are outlined in the Old Testament (p. 1738).
Paul wants the Romans to
consider that all days are to be dedicated to God through holy living and service to others (p. 1738) -- because -- continuing
in verse 8: If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong
to the Lord.
Judging each other -- condemning each other -- total waste of time that leads to displeasure
in God's eyes. In verse 13, Paul writes: Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your
mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.
There's that stumbling block
again. This is a strong message that we are not to lead our brothers to transgress against the Lord.
says he's absolutely convinced that there are no foods that are unclean. After all, God made everything. And what could
God make that would be foul?
Keep in mind that God made all men too. And because we are all children of God, we
shouldn't judge others. We may think that we know what someone is thinking deep down in their heart, but we don't.
God knows what's in the heart of man. Acts 1:24 -- Then they prayed, "Lord you know everyone's
Paul makes a very strong distinction, however, in verses 20-21: Do not destroy the work
of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.
It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.
just as important, in verse 22: So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the
man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.
But the man who has doubts is condemned
if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
more plainly, if whatever you do is offensive to someone, then you ought not to do it. This isn't about "if it feels
good, do it." Paul is making a strong warning that by doing what you want to do just might cause someone else to sin.
That would most certainly not please God. There are still religions that don't allow certain foods -- like pork
-- to be eaten. And I have attorney friends who are Jewish. Years ago when I worked in a law firm, I became acutely
aware of their response to the bacon/lettuce/tomato sandwich that someone had ordered at lunch. It isn't that the
BLT was offensive to them. Quite the contrary. The attorney I'm thinking of was mightily tempted to order one
So you see, just ordering a BLT in the presence of someone whose faith tradition requires abstinence
from certain foods would place a stumbling block in front of my friend, so I ordered some other sandwich.
How often I have heard people say they wish that God would just give them
a clue as to what he wants them to do.
"What's God's plan for me?" they ask.
God does not have an agenda for our lives. Not for mine. Not for yours. He has a purpose and that purpose is to bring you
But a plan? I don't think so. If God had locked you into a plan, how would he ever know you
freely choose to follow him? How would you ever exercise free will if you didn't have it?
How would you ever
be able to make a choice of sleeping in late on Sunday morning or going to church if God zapped you out of bed and shouted
at you to hurry up because church would be starting! No -- what God does is gives you instructions -- the Ten Commandments
-- and then sits back and watches to see if you choose to obey them.
What are some things that you do that you
think are pleasing to God in how you live your life.
What choices do you make that may not be all that convenient
for you, but you make them anyway because you want to please God?
We pray: Oh Lord, I thank you
for the gift of your Word. I pray that your Holy Spirit will speak to me as I read your Word. I pray that you would give me
the strength to do what is pleasing to you as I dedicate my life to you at the beginning of each new day. Amen.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
We were awakened before daylight by something
mean-sounding hitting the north window in our bedroom. It sounded like that little movie start garden gnome throwing handfuls
of popcorn at us.
Well, it wasn't a whole lot different except that it was Mother Nature in another one of
her late winter snits. And it was sleet, not popcorn. And no popcorn means there won't be any movie marathons today.
That's what I used to do after finals week. That's when my brain had turned to moosh and I thought I'd
never have another rational thought in my entire life. That was the time when Quint and I would get a whole bunch of
videos and just sit there, motionless and thoughtless, and let all that fatigue and stress just ooze out of the pours.
Into the air. Into the soft cushions. Anywhere. Just relax.
Today is Super Tuesday #2 -- and Mother Nature is
just not cooperating for a hoped-for grand turnout in Ohio, Texas, Vermont and New Hampshire. Only the die-hard voters who
really really care will go out in weather like this.
And yesterday, Obama had his reporter-searing at a press conference.
Can't really call it a baptism of fire but the reporters were sure going for the burn. They kept pushing him on this NAFTA
deal that he's been so critical about.
NAFTA has become Obama's "Elect me and I'll bring
the outsourced jobs back home." And he made some other disparaging remarks about NAFTA -- mainly because Hillary supported
it -- that is, if you count her husband's years in the White House as being experiential for her, vicariously.
Well, our neighbors to the north came after Obama. They wrote him a letter supporting the NAFTA position; that NAFTA is
a good thing. Obama said he never got such a letter. Then someone produced a copy. Okay, maybe he got a little letter.
And then he said what ALL politicians say when they've been challenged by the reality of truth in a compromising
position. He said, "When I gave you that information, that was the information I had at the time." That' s what
the Daily News reported at: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2008/03/04/2008-03-04_angry_barack_obama_bombarded_by_media.html
The other standard political answer is: "I don't remember." You can never be charged with perjury
is you don't remember, then later are able to recall. Like when someone produces a letter you wrote that you didn't
remember writing. Or a conversation, etc. Amnesia is a great political ploy.
What we need is to elect governors,
not politicians. Governors get things done. Politicians don't. They hire people who supervise people who call in people
to get things done.
But back to Obama's news conference. Then came the tough questions about Tony Rezko and
his relationship with Obama. He did not like those questions at all! Rezko's corruption trial started in Chicago. Rezko
did some fundraising or donating to Obama.
The press conference ended abruptly at that point. Now Obama is starting
to act like a politician.
Rezko has become to Obama what Peter Paul is to Clinton. And neither of those election
corruption trials are going to go away. And both of these candidates are going to get their hands dirty. Hmmmm. Maybe that's
why they're campaigning their little hearts out. Just maybe they absolutely have to get elected -- that way they
can pardon their corrupt little buddies.
After all, Quint says, you can't count on a President McCain to pardon
either Paul or Rezko.
With almost two dozen "each delegate counts" primaries to go, it's now going
to get interesting. Now we're going to see two senators from the Democrat side of the aisle going at it like two bullies
on the playground. The only thing that could make it more interesting is if Harry Reid announced he was going to run.
For president, not out of town. But you know what, on second thought, we may not have a movie marathon but this is primary
day. It's almost as entertaining. Especially that Texas vote. After the primaries are finished down under -- that is,
in the big land mass called Texas, then they have their caucuses. More than a thousand of them.
Some newsy anchors
say to make a big pot of coffee and wait for Texas. Well, maybe. And just maybe the news channels will call the vote after
12% of the returns are in. Then we can watch some real entertainment instead of these presidential wannabees who are
even resorting to being on Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show. And the late night talk shows. That
tells me how serious they are about what the Oval Office is all about.
BIBLE STUDY: Romans
Paul tells us what to do with children of men in this chapter -- that is, the rulers of earthly
powers and authorities.
We're supposed to pay our taxes. We're supposed to pay our bills. We're not
supposed to commit adultery; We're not supposed to murder anyone. We're not supposed to steal. We're not supposed
to covet. Whatever other commandments there are, we're supposed to mind them.
Because when we do that, we are
heeding the one big rule that Jesus Christ has given us: Love one another. (from verses 1-10)
we're supposed to love other people just like we love ourselves. Unless you have a self-esteem crisis going on, that would
be a lot of love. Without being what Matthew Henry would call "vainglorious," we tend to think pretty highly of
ourselves. I don't mean that in an arrogant way. If you don't think this might be true, just watch out for your reaction when
someone steps on your human little toes.
Keep in mind that at the time Paul wrote this Letter to the Romans in
the early spring of 57 A.D., Nero had been emperor of Rome for some three years. Nero was declared an adult at the age of
14 and ascended to the throne when he was 16. Rome burned in 64 A.D. Nero's caesarship ended in 68 A.D. when he is reported
to have committed suicide. The revolt of the Jews against Rome was in 70 A.D.
That's just to give you
an idea of what was happening in Rome during this time period. I don't think that Paul was holding a politically
savvy point of view when he said to obey the rulers and authorities.
In the first place, Paul wasn't intimidated
by the local rulers. Even the ones who, like Nero, were persecuting the Christians. Paul was perfectly willing to die for
Christ. He has said more than once in his writings that his sufferings on account of Christ was a way of honoring Christ and
upholding Christ's memory.
No. What Paul was reminding us is that God is the kingmaker. There is a cross-reference
in this chapter to Daniel 2:21 -- He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to
the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding... ESV
And another cross reference to John 19:11 --
Jesus answered him, "You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore
he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin." ESV
Paul tells the Romans to "wake up folks".
In verse 11b-12: The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when
we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on
the armor of light.
My Concordia Study Bible says that this passage refers to the early Christian's belief
that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ had ushered in a new time. This new time has to do with a period of waiting
for Christ to return. We go into the end times, not knowing exactly when Christ will return -- because only our Heavenly Father
knows that -- but warned that we should be ready at any given hour of the day. (p. 1738)
We should live our lives
out here in the light -- not doing skulking about things that are done under the blanket of darkness.
the chapter with this thought in verse 14: Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about
how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
No matter where you
are living in the world, there is political upheaval at this time. New elections. Regime changes. In light of today's
Bible Study, can you see where God could be placing leaders -- good or bad -- positive or negative -- for spiritual growth
within those countries?
Why do you think God would purposely set about a political change that would be a negative
influence on citizens within a country? If you agree with the premise that we need conflict so that we can crystallize our
point of view, does this help in your resolution of God's influence in the political arena?
Oh Lord, I pray for a God-fearing candidate to be successful in a bid for the White House. I pray that the new president
of the United States will be someone who does not worship himself or herself as a self-made little god. Rather, I pray that
someone who lives to serve you within a political arena will surface as the front-runner.
I pray that you will
restore a strong Christian faith to the congressional leadership of the United States congress.
I pray that you
will grant a Godly peace to form the relationships with all our allies. I pray that this peace will permeate the governments
throughout the world.
I pray for our military personnel who serve us around the world. Keep them safe, Oh Lord.
And I thank you for each and every person who has come forward to protect our country. Amen.
Monday, March 3, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
I was so disappointed that Emma
wasn't on, as promised, last night.
Instead, what I got was Masterpiece Classics shorter program on how the
Jane Austen novels were recreated for the screen. There are six Austen novels in total. I learned that since the time the
first one was published, back in the early 1800s, she has never been out of print.
What happens is every once in
a while a blockbuster film is remade and people go read the book. Then, because it's so delicious -- not that I'm
a bookworm, mind you -- that people then go looking for her other books.
And pretty soon, you've read all
her books, then start re-reading them. I would think that if a modern writer wanted a sure-fire success "formula,"
Jane Austen's intrigue would work.
The only modern writer who has even remotely come close is Victoria Holt.
My mother had ever Holt novel that was written and the collection was a favorite item from her library. It was fun to read
all the Holt novels because I could imagine my mother's reactions as I read the books.
But I squeezed reading Emma
into last week. And also went over the highlights of Pride and Prejudice. Strained my poor little eyeballs so much
that they looked like the interstate highway system by the end of the week.
I'll be running over to church
after lunch for the Ladies Aid meeting. Don't know for sure what's on the agenda. We had the Altar Guild training
meeting yesterday after church. So that's taken care of. That was mostly to show us new people where everything is and
what to do if, for some reason, we run out of communion wine on the Sundays when it's my turn, and where the dripless
spring-loaded candles are stored. And not to wad up the fair linen cloth and put it under the floral arrangements
on the altar. (Somebody actually did that, which is what prompted the need for the meeting.)
We finished our stint
as greeters before church on Sunday. We thought -- silly us -- that we just needed to be there fifteen minutes or so before
the Sunday morning service. I mean everybody knows that Lutherans arrive at church within the last five to eight minutes before
the service. And since there is practically assigned seating, it's a simple matter of dashing on in to the sanctuary to
sit where they have always sat. Well, we were gently told that greeters should arrive before Sunday School because most families
arrive then and they like to get their bulletins then.
See, it's all the little things that new people have
to learn. And those traditions change from congregation to congregation. I mean, we always sit on the lectern side. Always
have. No matter which church we've belonged to. That used to be called the "female side," mind you. That was
because the old wood stove was on the right, or pulpit side. Word is that women, with their long skirts and petticoats, were
plenty warm and didn't need heat from a stove. But men wore knee breeches. Maybe their stockings left their spindly little
legs shivering. Don't know.
Anyway, just to shake things up (for ourselves) we ought to go over to the pulpit
side one of these Sundays. We could arrive just a bit early and see if it feels all that uncomfortable. Nah. Third pew, lectern
side is where we belong. It's the Reinheimer Lutheran way.
We had a kind of theater in the round new modern
church where we used to go. We liked to sit in the tenth row, center section. Always did from the first Sunday that we attended.
Anyway, we like to sense of community that belonging to a church brings us. It's important to associate with
friends who believe the same things we believe. Oh, I don't mean we're rubber stamps of each other. All you have to
do is come to Pastor's Sunday Morning Discussion Group to realize that.
Well, it was 53 degrees outside when
I started this blog an hour ago. Now it's 44 degrees and dropping. Something blowing in.
THE TRUTH: That way you don't have to worry about what you said to whom. I'll bet that's what Chef Robert
Irvine wished he'd done. He's the chef on Food Network's Dinner: Impossible. He claimed that he had once
cooked for Princess Diana. Not! You've been found out, there guy. I liked that show too. Food Network isn't going
to renew his contract and in the immortal words of The Donald: You're fired!
BIBLE STUDY: Romans 12:1-21
Paul begins the third theme of his Letter to the Romans in chapter 12. This theme now turns toward how we
can live a life that is pleasing to God. Though we are sinners from the moment of our birth, we can, however, live a godly
life that is a reflection of our faith in God.
No longer are we required to kill a sacrificial animal and put it
on an altar in order to please God, but rather, we are to live our own lives as a daily sacrifice because we have the Holy
Spirit alive within us. In that sense, our bodies become "living sacrifices" of faith by everything that we do.
This message is a repeat of one he brought to the Corinthians in 1 Cor. 6:20 -- for you were bought with a price.
So glorify God in your body...
Matthew Henry puts it like this: ...if the soul be united to Christ by
faith, the whole man is become a member of his spiritual body. Other vices may be conquered in fight; that here cautioned
against, only by flight. And vast multitudes are cut off by this vice in its various forms and consequences. Its effects fall
not only directly upon the body, but often upon the mind.
Our bodies have been redeemed from deserved
condemnation and hopeless slavery by the atoning sacrifice of Christ. We are to be clean, as vessels fitted for our Master's
use. Being united to Christ as one spirit, and bought with a price of unspeakable value, the believer should consider himself
as wholly the Lord's, by the strongest ties. May we make it our business, to the latest day and hour of our lives, to
glorify God with our bodies, and with our spirits.
And how many times have I heard the question asked that they want to know what God's plan, or purpose, or
will is for their lives.
Listen to what Paul says about this in verse 2: Do not conform any longer to the
pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's
will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will.
God's will doesn't include lust of running after wealth
or egotistically looking for applause or compliments. God's will doesn't include thirst for power. All these things
will die away eventually.
What will not die is God's love.
Matthew Henry says that unless this
victory over the world is begun in the heart, a man has no root in himself, but will fall away, or at most remain an unfruitful
professor. Yet these vanities are so alluring to the corruption in our hearts, that without constant watching and prayer,
we cannot escape the world, or obtain victory over the god and prince of it.
Incidentally, Matthew Henry's complete commentary of the Bible can be found at this site: http://bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries/MatthewHenryConcise/
We want to keep renewing ourselves. This regenerates our spiritual nature. Paul would tell the Colossians in Col.
3:10 -- ...put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.ESV
brings this strong word of caution to the Romans in verse 3: For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not
think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure
of faith God has given you.
There's that warning not to get too uppity again. After all, these gifts have
all come from God, so how could anyone get any kind of a superior attitude about a gift that has been received. It's not
like we can create these gifts for ourselves. No. They are given to us to build God's kingdom here on earth. And we are
to look at ourselves with sober judgment as we use these gifts.
But what is this measure of faith that Paul
is talking about? These measures of faith are not ours to keep for ourselves. God has given them to us so that we can
help others restore their lives.
This is what we are called to do.
This is why we are given a measure
of faith. What that measure is depends on the abilities we are challenged with.
used the metaphor in his parable of the talents in Matthew 25. If you recall, a man was going on a journey so he called his
servants to him and gave them a kind of power of attorney over great amounts of funds.
In Matthew 15:15-17 we
learn: To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his
ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and
gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went
off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.
Eventually the master came back and called the
servants to him. He wanted to know how the servants had made out in the management of the money. The master was happy with
the two who had gotten a return on the money, but the guy who put his one talent in the ground?
It could come
under the heading of "What were you thinking?"
The master was so unhappy with this lazy servant
who didn't even make an effort to work on appreciating the money's value that he took the talent away from him and
gave it to the servant who had ten talents.
Then the master had the whiny servant thrown outside into the darkness.
I'm guess outside the city walls where there weren't any streetlights. Out there in the loneliness of utter darkness,
there was "weeping and gnashing of teeth." Maybe wolves or wild animals. Anyway it wasn't a safe place and this
is where the story ends.
Except to say that a "talent" is a lot of money. It was worth about the same
as twenty years' salary for a laborer. In today's vernacular, it takes about 7 years for an investment to double.
But the guy who dug a hole in the ground was foolish indeed.
But what does that say about us when God gifts us
with a measure of faith and we don't even try to bring people to Christ?
I've heard people say things
like they could do a better job if they had "that person's" talent, etc.
Well, Paul had an answer
to this kind of thinking, for in verses 4-5 he compares the different gifts to different parts of the body. The
brain has a function that is uniquely different from the feet, and the stomach's assigned chore is much different from
the lungs. Just watch a doctor get excited when the lungs and stomach get their roles mixed up! Food is not supposed to get
into the lungs. It could even be deadly if it does.
It's the same with the the gifts of grace, Paul says, in
verses 6-8. If a person's gift is serving, let him serve. If it's teaching, let him teach, etc.
to keep our spiritual fervor, serving the Lord, Paul says in verse 11.
Paul then says, in verses 12-13: Be
joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
In verses 14-16 are things that we are to do:
Bless those who persecute you...
those who rejoice...
Mourn with those who mourn...
Live in harmony with one another.
a challenging list. Have you ever tried to bless people when they are making fun of you or bullying you or being a kind of
Being happy with people who are happy is easy but how many times have you avoided going to a
funeral or a wake because you just didn't know what to say?
But living in harmony with our neighbors includes
all those things. It also includes things Paul says we shouldn't do in verses 16b-17:
Do not be proud,
but be willing to associate with people of low position.
Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.
This last one is a tough truth to live by. We're
humans. We like to get even. Somewhere in the back of our sinful little brain, we even think we have the right to get even.
But think about this -- whatever it is that has been done to us -- or not done for us -- is a human condition. It's
a flesh and blood anguish that pulls us ever closer toward Satan.
And flesh and blood do not inherit the kingdom
of God. That heartache that you feel is not going to heaven with you. That revenge you feel is your right to pronounce and
deliver is not going to heaven with you either. Those are flesh and blood indulgences.
Let them go. Give them
to God because this is what he say in Proverbs 20:22 -- Do not say, "I will repay evil" -- wait for the Lord,
and he will deliver you.
So answer me this: Do you truly believe God is the Lord of your life? When you say
that God is in charge of the universe as well as your life, do you really, honestly believe it?
If you believe
that, then give up this revenge that you neither have the authority nor the brilliance to deliver. Revenge is not your
job. It will only magnify your heartache.
It will keep you from growing the talent that God has given you.
And when you have to explain to God why you only have that one little measly talent that he left you with because you
were too busy nurturing a heartache instead of multiplying the talent (that is, growing the kingdom of God), prepare
yourself to see a God who is disappointed in you.
We walk our lives on
parallel paths. On one path is the worshipful, earnest Christian who wants more than anything to use all those talents
that God has gifted us with.
Then there's the other path that we, in our humanness, stumble along on. It is
the treacherous path that Satan trips along with us. The more talents we have -- the more spiritual gifts we have -- the more
hurdles Satan puts on this path. He'd like to see us fail completely.
Can you think of any obstacles you may
have that are keeping you locked up with vengeful thoughts? What would it take to let these thoughts go. Do you think God
could handle this one problem in your life if you'd turn it over to him? Or do you think that God won't be vengeful
enough? What would you truly like for God to do?
We pray: Oh Lord, I have some real problems with
people that you have put in the path of my life. I often wonder just what you had in mind with all that because I know there
are no coincidences in the way you line things up. Give me a forgiving heart, O Lord, and where I have not forgiven, I pray
that you will send your Holy Spirit to my heart and sweep out all those ugly, sinful cobwebs that are stumbling stones in
my relationship with you. Amen.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
MY LIFE IN INK --
Soups on! The cooking fragrances wafting
out of the kitchen come all the way down into the office in the basement. This is a 7-bean red cabbage medley. I saw the Barefoot
Contessa making a cabbage soup the other day that looked absolutely delicious, then she added white beans just to top it off.
I don't know what she called it, but the fragrances from her kitchen food lab just about popped through the TV.
This is going to almost be a vegetarian day, except for the fudging I did with the bacon pieces in the skillet the gave just
enough lubricant for the onion and celery chunks to sweat out their flavorful goodness.
It ought to be good for
our cholesterol count. We don't eat a fraction of the meat that we used to. Quint and I both fight genetics on that one
so we're pretty careful. But once in a while, there's just nothing that can beat a good old steak on the grill. We're
saving up cholesterol credits for that since the weather it starting to be more welcoming.
It's going to get
up in the 60s today -- rumor has it.
Quint had to go to the car dealer first thing this morning. Freddie's (that's
what we call our Focus) passenger door handle decided it was going to be contrary. So he's sitting in the back seat for
most trips about town. I do a great deal of the driving -- mainly because I get really bored just sitting over there on the
passenger side. But then, I could knit. That would be good when my hyper self kicks in.
But for now, it would
look too much like he's being chauffeured about. We tried it yesterday on the way from the IGA. What a back seat driver
he turned out to be! He ought to just watch it. I have a command central button on the driver's door that locks everything
down. I could leave him sitting back there for hours. That is, unless he tried to climb over the seat and get out on the drivers
side. But I wouldn't want to do that to him. He'd probably get mad and pout and all that stuff.
I've never seen Quint really really upset, like out loud mad, but I don't think I would ever want him to be mad at
me. He'd probably blow up. Then I'd have a big mess to clean up. Better to keep him happy, I always say. I know --
that's taking the easy way out, but it's how our marriage has wonderfully survived all these thirty some odd years.
There's just not that much going on that's worth a hill of beans, my grandma used to say. Happy is a lot
BIBLE STUDY: Romans 11:1-36
This chapter completes the
second of three themes that Paul brings to the Romans in his letter.
The first theme, in chapters 1-8, is focused
on righteousness from God, justification through Christ, and sanctification.
In this second movement, so to speak,
Paul is focused on tearing away this divide between the Jews and the Gentiles, and the Jews rejection of Christ being Lord
of all -- Jews and Gentiles alike.
And the third theme (which we'll begin on Monday that will continue through
the 16th chapter) will be about how we can all practice a righteous life.
As we go through this chapter 11,
I want you to think about the present-day mess that the world is in. There are civil wars on the continent of Africa. There
are despots claiming to be the most powerful ruler in the world. There are many little "king tuts" running for president
here in the United States, each one claiming to be "the enlightened one."
Except for his amusement, I
have to wonder why God even allows all the shenanigans to go on. Part of the answer to that question is embedded in Paul's
writings here in the 11th chapter of this letter to the Romans.
So put your thinking cap on, sharpen your pencils
and get your tablets out. This is going to be an quick-step adventure! Paul is at his best in this chapter. He's rested.
He's sharp. He's about to bring all his points together into one big Spirit-driven mountain of a point.
the first verse of this chapter, Paul uses his own biography to point out that God does not reject his people. Paul says,
"I'm a descendant of Abraham too." Specifically, Paul was from the tribe of Benjamin.
And then in
verses 2-3, Paul says: God did not reject his people whom he foreknew. Don't you know what the Scripture says
in the passage about Elijah -- how he appealed to God against Israel: "Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn
down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me."
The emphasis on "foreknew"
Paul was talking about "foreknowledge" back in 8:29 -- 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.
There is a
strong clue here that God knew who was going to be born on this earth before he even made the heavens and the earth.
I am talking about the creation of our souls; not our bodies of flesh. Our soul is the very essence of our peopleness.
I have a cross reference here to 1 Samual 12:22 -- For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name's
sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself.ESV
This bible reference enjoys an
explanation in Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible: At Samuel's word, God sent thunder and rain, at
a season of the year when, in that country, the like was not seen. This was to convince them they had done wickedly in asking
a king; not only by its coming at an unusual time, in wheat harvest, and on a clear day, but by the prophet's giving notice
of it before. He showed their folly in desiring a king to save them, rather than God, or Samuel; promising themselves more
from an arm of flesh, than from the arm of God, or from the power of prayer.
So here were those obstinate
Israelites again. God sent Samuel to bring them back into his fold. But how in the world could Samuel do that? These Israelites
were asking the king for help. They were worshiping the king. Pure folly, says Samuel!
Then Samuel tells the Israelites
that he's going to show them the real power -- the power from God. God is going to bring a thunder-clapping huge big old
storm right out there in the fields on a bright sunny day!
Will that make believers out of you?
Israelites wondered all right. Was their human ruler going to be able to do as mighty a thing as Samuel could do just by praying?
Back to Matthew Henry's comments: It startled them very much. Some will not be brought to see their sins by
any gentler methods than storms and thunders. They entreat Samuel to pray for them. Now they see their need of him whom shortly
before they slighted.
Thus many who will not have Christ to reign over them, would yet be glad to have
him intercede for them, to turn away the wrath of god.
Samuel aims to confirm the people in their religion.
Whatever we make a god of, we shall find it deceive us.
Creatures in their own places are good; but when
put in God's place, they are vain things.
We sin if we restrain prayer, and in particular if we cease praying
for the church. They only asked him to pray for them; but he promises to do more, to teach them. He urges that they were bound
in gratitude to serve God, considering what great things he had done for them; and that they were bound in interest to serve
him, considering what he would do against them, if they should still do wickedly.
Thus, as a faithful
watchman, he gave them warning, and so delivered his own soul. If we consider what great things the Lord hath done for us,
especially in the great work of redemption, we can neither want motive, encouragement, nor assistance in serving him.
Curious, don't you think, that every time there is a rejection by the Israelites, God sends a powerful spokesman
to get them back on track.
God sent Samuel to help the Jews and now he's put Paul in the big middle of them.
In so many instances, as we read through the Bible, we see how God overruled the Israelites in their unbelief. He
put them out there in the desert to wander around until they could come to the power of their belief again.
in this first century of Christianity, God is again in a position where he needs to powerfully overrule the Jews' lack
of acceptance of the Gentiles.
For the Lord will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage
-- Psalm 94:14. ESV
God did not let harm come to Elijah when he prayed for help and God was not going to let
the Jews overcome the Apostle Paul either.
God said to Elijah, in verse 4b: I have reserved for myself
seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.
Not to worry then. There was always a remnant
remaining. There was always this incredible ability to start over, if need be. Same is true in Paul's time. Listen to
what Paul says in verses 5-6: So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it
is no longer by works: if it were, grace would no longer be grace. NIV
So this is the thought that God
must now overrule -- a remnant has been chosen by grace. That remnant is extended to the Gentiles. They didn't
earn it any more than the Jews earned their grace.
Grace is a gift. You can't earn a gift. If you get
a gift because of something you've done (works), then you have to call it something else. It would then become a supplemental
benefit, like a bonus for a job well done.
This acceptance of God's gift of grace will become a stumbling
block, as Paul says when he reads the quote from David in verse 9: May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling
block and a retribution for them. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever. NIV
-- Psalms 69:22-23
Paul then turns his attention to the Gentiles. He says in verse 11b: ...because of their
transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.
Paul gives a fuller explanation
in verses 13-14: I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentles, I make much of my ministry
in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy. NIV
Paul is referring back to a passage in Acts
9:15 -- But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles
and kings and the children of Israel. ESV
Matthew Henry says: A good work was begun in Saul, when he was
brought to Christ's feet with those words, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"
did Christ leave any who were brought to that.
Behold, the proud Pharisee, the unmerciful oppressor, the
daring blasphemer, prayeth! And thus it is even now, and with the proud infidel, or the abandoned sinner. What happy tidings
are these to all who understand the nature and power of prayer, of such prayer as the humbled sinner presents for the blessings
of free salvation!
Now he began to pray after another manner than he had done; before, he had said his
prayers, now, he prayed them.
Regenerating grace sets people on praying; you may as well find a living
man without breath, as a living Christian without prayer....The teaching of the Hoy Spirit takes away the scales of ignorance
and rice from the understanding; then the sinner becomes a new creature, and endeavors to recommend the anointed Saviour,
the Son of God, to his former companions (Acts 9:23-31).
Paul then likens his ministry to a kind of horticultural lesson when he talks about the Gentiles being grafted
onto the trunk of the wild olive tree which represented the Israelites, in verses 19-21: You will say then, "Branches
were broken off so that I could be grafted in."
Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief,
and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid.
For if God did not spare the natural branches,
he will not spare you either. NIV
Paul then warns the Gentiles not to get too uppity because their continued
favor in God's eyes is based on God's kindness. And it's true that the message that Paul is bringing them is because
the Jews rejected Paul's message. But they could be cut off too. The matter of the Jewish question rests on whether or
not they persist in their unbelief. If they don't, God can graft them back onto the trunk again.
the promise of God to all the Jews in verses 26b-27: The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away
from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.
Paul says in verse 29 that God's
gifts and God's call are irrevocable. After all, Paul explains in verses 30-32: Just as you who were at one time disobedient
to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they
too may now receive mercy as a result of God's mercy to you. For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he
may have mercy on them all. NIV
Paul then wraps up this chapter with a doxology which is a short expression of
praise to God. Doxologies were in wide use both in the Jewish synagogue as well as in Christian worship services. They
continue to play a large part of the worship in liturgical churches, for hymns of praise are based on Biblical passages set
Most common of the doxologies today is the Common Doxology:
Praise God, from whom all
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye Heavenly Host;
Praise Father, Son,
and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Go to this website and click on the box in the upper left corner for music to this doxology:
This particular doxology is based on Psalm 86:12 and has remained the most frequently sung words of praise for
more than three hundred years. The words were written by a seventeenth century Anglican Bishop named Thomas Ken.
Paul's doxology is found in verses 33-36:
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of
How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
Who has known the mind of the Lord?
who has been his counselor?
Who have ever given to God, that God should repay him?
For from him and through him
and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.
are so blessed to be one of God's chosen people. What are some of the things you pray for when you pray for the church
Here are some suggestions:
Church leaders (trustees, elders, deacons, other lay
Children to come to the Lord
Believers to renew their path to
What can you add to this list?
Discuss what you think is meant by a "stumbling block"
as Paul quotes from Psalm 69:22-23. We might use the phrase "tipping point" as a similar expression today.
Can you just imagine the challenges that Paul faced in trying to reconcile the Jews and Gentiles into one worshiping group
of believers? If you were faced with such challenges, how would you go about it?
Fortunately for Paul, he had the
gift of the Holy Spirit to guide him in his challenging work.
So do you. Every day of your life, you have the availability
of the Holy Spirit to be with you, to guide you, to equip you for all that God wants you to do here on earth. Like Paul, pray
the prayer, "What do you want me to do, Lord." But pray the prayer -- don't say the prayer.
There's a big difference. When you're praying your prayers, you won't feel like you're talking to a blank
wall, like when you're just saying them.
We pray: O Lord, no matter how much I try, I just
can't seem to get it right. Please come into my heart and give me a glimpse of what it is you would have me do. I want
to serve you. I pray that you would guide me so that I will serve you -- not just when it's convenient for me, or when
I want to -- but when you need for me to do what you want me to do.
I pray for all the pastors and teachers and
counselors who guide others to you. Keep them strong and always in a working faith. I pray for strength and health for them
so that they can perform their work diligently. Amen.
WE ARE LOSING THE GREATEST GENERATION
-- from A. Stubbe -- USN, Ret.
written by: CPT. Stephen R. Ellison, M.D., US Army
I am a doctor specializing in the Emergency Departments of the only two military Level One - Trauma Centers, both in San
Antonio, TX and they care for civilian emergencies as well as military personnel. San Antonio has the largest military retiree
population in the world living here. As a military doctor, I work long hours and the pay is less than glamorous. One tends
to become jaded by the long hours, lack of sleep, food, family contact and the endless parade of human suffering passing before
you. The arrival of another ambulance does not mean more pay, only more work.
Most often, it is a victim from a
motor vehicle crash.
Often it is a person of dubious character who has been shot or stabbed. With our large military
retiree population, it is often a nursing home patient. Even with my enlisted service and minimal combat experience in Panama,
I have caught myself groaning when the ambulance brought in yet another sick, elderly person from one of the local retirement
centers that cater to military retirees. I had not stopped to think of what citizens of this age group represented.
I saw Saving Private Ryan. I was touched deeply. Not so much by the carnage, but by the sacrifices of so many.
I was touched most by the scene of the elderly survivor at the graveside, asking his wife if he'd been a good man.
I realized that I had seen these same men and women coming through my Emergency Dept. and had not realized what magnificent
sacrifices they had made. The things they did for me and everyone else that has lived on this planet since the end of that
conflict are priceless.
Situation permitting, I now try to ask my patients about their experiences. They would
never bring up the subject without the inquiry. I have been privileged to an amazing array of experiences, recounted in the
brief minutes allowed in an Emergency Dept. encounter. These experiences have revealed the incredible individuals I have had
the honor of serving in a medical capacity, many on their last admission to the hospital.
There was a frail, elderly
woman who reassured my young enlisted medic, trying to start an IV line in her arm. She remained calm and poised, despite
her illness and the multiple needle-sticks into her fragile veins. She was what we call a "hard stick." As the medic
made another attempt, I noticed a number tattooed across her forearm. I touched it with one finger and looked into her eyes.
She simply said, "Auschwitz." Many of later generations would have loudly and openly berated the young medic in
his many attempts. How different was the response from the person who'd seen unspeakable suffering.
was this long retired Colonel, who as a young officer had parachuted from his burning plane over a Pacific Island held by
the Japanese. Now an octogenarian, he had a minor cut on his head from a fall at his home where he lived alone. His CT scan
and suturing had been delayed until after midnight by the usual parade of high priority ambulance patients. Still spry for
his age, he asked to use the phone to call a taxi to take him home, then he realized his ambulance had brought him without
a wallet. He asked if he could use the phone to make a long distance call to his daughter who lived 7 miles away. With great
pride we told him that he could not, as he'd done enough for his country and the least we could do was get him a taxi
home, even if we had to pay for it ourselves. My only regret was that my shift wouldn't end for several hours, and I couldn't
drive him myself.
I was there the night M/Sgt. Roy Benavidez came through the Emergency Dept. for the last time.
He was very sick. I was not the doctor taking care of him, but I walked to his bedside and took his hand. I said nothing.
He was so sick, he didn't even know I was there. I'd read his Congressional Medal of Honor citation and I wanted to
shake his hand. He died a few days later.
The gentleman who served with Merrill's Marauders,
survivor of the Bataan Death March,
the survivor of Omaha Beach,
the 101 year old WWI veteran,
the former POW held in frozen North Korea,
the former Special Forces medic -- now with non-operable liver cancer,
the former Viet Name Corps Commander.
I remember these citizens.
I may still groan when yet
another ambulance comes in, but now I am much more aware of what an honor it is to serve these particular men and women.
I have seen a Congress that would turn their back on these individuals who've sacrificed so much to protect our
liberty. I see later generations that seem to be totally engrossed in abusing these same liberties, won with such sacrifice.
It has become my personal endeavor to make the nurses and young enlisted medics aware of these amazing individuals
when I encounter them in our Emergency Dept. Their response to these particular citizens has made me think that perhaps all
is not lost in the next generation.
My experiences have solidified my belief that we are losing an incredible generation,
and this nation knows not what it is losing. Our uncaring government and ungrateful citizen populace should all take note.
We should all remember that we must "Earn this."
WITTY INSULTS -- from
The exchange between Churchill and Lady Astor:
She said, If you were my husband,
I'd give you poison. And he said, If you were my wife, I'd take it.
Gladstone, a member of
Parliament, to Benjamin Disraeli: Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.
That depends, sir, said Disraeli, on whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.
had delusions of adequacy. -- Walter Kerr
He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.
-- Winston Churchill
A modest little person, with much to be modest about. -- Winston Churchill
I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure. -- Clarence Darrow
He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary. -- William Faulkner (about Ernest
Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? -- Ernest Hemingway (about
Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it. -- Moses
He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know. -- Abraham Lincoln
I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it. -- Mark Twain
has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends. -- Oscar Wilde
I am enclosing two tickets to
the first night of my new play; bring a friend. If you have one. -- George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill
Cannot possible attend first night, will attend second. If there is one. -- Winston Churchill, in response to Shaw.
I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here. -- Stephen Bishop
is a self-made man and worships his creator. -- John Bright
I just learned about his illness. Let's
hope it's nothing trivial. -- Irvin S. Cobb
He is not only himself, he is the cause of dullness in
others. -- Samuel Johnson
He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up. -- Paul Keating
There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure. -- Jack E. Leonard
has the attention span of a lightning bolt. -- Robert Redford
They never open their mouths without subtracting
from the sum of human knowledge. -- Thomas Brackett Reed
In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always
yielded easily. -- Charles, Count Talleyrand
He loves nature in spite of what it did to him. -- Forrest
Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it? -- Mark Twain
His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork. -- Mae West
Some cause happiness wherever
they go; others, whenever they go. -- Oscar Wilde
He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts
-- for support rather than illumination. -- Andrew Lang
He has Van Gogh's ear for music. -- Billy
I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it. -- Groucho Marx
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.)