copyright 2013 by Jane Reinheimer

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This has to be at the top of the page! http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap120710.html It's such a joyful video and I like to play it regularly. It's fun to watch people having fun. Just a reminder that the world is place for each of us to enjoy one another and live a life without the strife of war.

And this, Starry Nights. http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?feature=player_embedded&v=FgBF3sIPm4c



Check out this video of a mountain biker going down a mountain: http://clashdaily.com/2014/04/brass-balls-video-insane-bike-trip-mountain-will-make-puke/ -- wild two minutes!

 

It's April 2014 and I have to say that Quint and I are feeling much better - still trying to get up and out of the anemia which is left over from the cancer treatments. Quint is on an iron supplement. I'm not. He's more anemic than I am.

I'll be glad when I can comfortably stand for at least a half hour. Quint does better with that than I do.

But all things in stride. At least we feel ambitious enough to work out in the flower beds and take care of the yard this year. We had people come in an mow the last couple of years -- just so the yard looked presentable.

 

August 20, 2013

This is the most amazing bit of choreographer I've seen in a long, long time -- and I love university marching bands: 
http://www.youtube.com/embed/MjPmmCtHmfE?rel=0

It's a tribute to branches of our military.


August 18, 2013

Hey, people -- have you found Duck Dynasty yet? If you start watching this series, you'll understand why it just broke gynormous viewer records of 11.5 million! 

It's a reality show about the Robertsons. If you've ever spent any time down South, you'll just relish the whole thing - from the brothers who tease each other unmercifully. Like the episode in the first season where a big old snake drops out of a tree and lands in the boat with the Robertsons. One of the brothers jumped out of the boat and into the river. Then the other one picked up the snake and threw it into the river. The other guy jumped back in the boat. Just good humored funnin'.

But I can relate to all that hunting and fishing. I remember watching my daddy making a net. I guess I was about six years old. I asked him how he learned to do that and he said, "Well, June Bug, (that's what he called me) it's just a bunch of knots tied together." He started out on mama's clothes line. Walked back and forth making those knots until he got it the length he wanted. 

He used to run trot lines in the Red River. His heart was in hunting and fishing. Work was something he tolerated. His job was what was called a "rough neck" in the oil fields in southwestern Arkansas. He'd take off every night if he could. Whatever he caught and brought back was what we ate for supper the next day.

But back to the Robertsons. I found this clip of one of the Robertsons 'plainin things about God to an audience. 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qop_3ocgqlo

He tells a story of how he challenged a man who called to order a duck call who kept taking the Lord's name in vain. It's worth a listen. I think.

What I like about the Robertsons is that they are congruent people. They say grace before they eat -- just to remind them of where all that goodness in their lives comes from. They've become multi-millionnaires with their duck calls that must be some kind of special; otherwise, why wouldn't someone just go to a sporting goods store and pick up a duck call? Beats me. But then, I'm not a duck hunter. I wouldn't know the difference between one from another.

So they started out poor but they aren't poor anymore.

I'm a little familiar with that story. We weren't just poor. We were dirt poor. I've survived all the unpleasantness of where poor puts you. But I'm here to tell you that you don't have to stay down in that pit of poverty. Each of us can figure a way out of that horrid place. For me it was going to college. 

First an undergrad, then a masters, then a license to practice as a mental health counselor. 

But I'm here to tell you that when you reach some point of success, don't ever indulge yourself by being proud. Pride will get you in trouble. But you can be pleased with your accomplishments. I'm pleased with what God has gifted me to do. I'm pleased that I can go out on crisis intervention events for insurance companies. I'm also pleased that I have a busy private practice of helping a lot of people. I'll never sell duck calls like the Robertsons and I'll never be a millionnaire. But then, that was never my goal. As Si Robertson would say, I'm "happy, happy, happy." He also started almost every sentence with "Hey."
 
And when I look around and see the false pride that others have with what they think they got all by themselves, I shudder to think that I could have been there right with them in that little thought cave. Rather, owing to God alone, everything we have is a gift of His grace. So I don't need a big fancy house. The one Quint and I have is a far cry from where we both started as poor kids long, long ago. Our house has electricity and running water for starters. And if you've ever lived in a humble little house without those two things, you'll understand that they are the foundation of everything else that's nice about a house.

The very first thing you have to do is get right with God. If you do that, He'll keep an eye out for you.

I start every morning with that thought. 

Plus, God is watching me so I'd better not mess up.

August 17, 2013

In case you've never seen a copperhead up close enough to recognize what it looks like, here's an unbelievable video showing the snake biting itself after its head has been chopped off. 
http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2013/08/17/Decapitated-Snake-Head-Bites-Its-Own-Body

If you have an interest iin rocketry, the video 2nd in line shows a rocket ascending -- then coming back to its launch pad and either shutting itself off, or someone turned it off.


August 7, 2013

Hilarious! Here's 12 minutes of Ronald Reagan's best: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=wrRTau5jusU

August 6, 2013

Who says animals can't make a plan? Take a look at this bear stealing an entire dumpster. Watch how deliberate the bear is. The bear even looks around to make sure his traffic path isn't cluttered: 
http://zanylol.com/bear1.html


July 27, 2013

Delta Honor Guard receiving remains of a fallen soldier: 
http://www.youtube.com/embed/c_VGxfmDmEo

I did not know that Delta had an honor guard! Hard to watch this without getting a bit emotional. 

And this, a soldier returns to Oklahoma to meet his widow: 
http://www.youtube.com/embed/c_VGxfmDmEo


July 23, 2013

A full peal of the bells at Westminster Abbey greeted the royal baby's birth. The bells rang for 35 minutes, they say. If that's true, this is going to be one noisy baby: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ok8Lp7dgd_g But those who have never heard a full bell peal, enjoy! A full bell peal at our church sounds more like "ding dong."


July 21, 2013

Uh oh! A 6.5 mag hits New Zealand. 
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-21/strong-earthquake-near-wellington-shakes-new-zealand/4833724 -- Definitely not a good sign.

Here's a happy welcome home from a dog whose master just returned from a 6-month deployment. You can just tell that the dog wants so desperatevly to speak English - way too much joy for Bugaboo to hold. And this is not a lap dog! 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waSMjQ-lc74

Here's a clip of a beautiful golden lab being ever so gentle with a Downs baby: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA8VJh0UJtg -- oh my goodness - the miracles of love that God creates.

Reminds me of a metaphor I got from the pastor at church today. He began with, "What are you going to do now that everything has been done for you? You can just sit on your salvation!"

I absorb metaphors like a sponge and I really like this one. It fills me with courage when days don't go right. It fills me with joy when I see little things that are going right. 

And what am I going to do now that Jesus died for my sins? My salvation is complete. I don't have to worry about a thing because Jesus already sweat blood for me in Gethsemane. 

My life has to fill up with little pebbles of trust and love for others. These little pebbles will pile up into one big mountain of faith.

Blessings to each of you --

 

 

July 20, 2013

Shadow dancing -- familiar with it? This troupe is from Hungary and this is their dance routine. Absolutely amazing! 

I could make lots of comments about the talent, dexterity, etc. etc. But what amazes me is something we call "muscle memory." When these folks are behind the "curtain," they have little else to rely on except what their bodies are supposed to feel like when in a certain position. Otherwise, Stonehenge would have little pieces of rock sticking out in places where it wasn't supposed to. Or any of the other poses and movements could really look funny or strange if the dancers did not have really good muscle memory.

Take a look: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=CvQBUccxBr4

It was especially poignant for me -- and to the audience as well -- to see the soldier being carried home. Reminds me of Quint's losting his brother when he was the U.S. Army. Noticed a few others dabbing at their eyes too.

Oh my -- what talent and how generous of the troupe to share their art with the rest of us. 


July 19, 2013

Funny rendition of what happens, according to Fr. Guido Sarducci,  when we die: 
http://www.youtube.com/embed/0AKvRvL5r3A?rel=0


I don't think that's a real priest though.

Here he is on David Letterman: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kL8Ti1BMNc

And did you know that Fr. Sarducci founded the thought of the 5 minute university: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLAd4NzuqYM


July 18, 2013

Check out this gymnast. She's 86! I couldn't do what she is doing when I was 16. 
< http://safeshare.tv/w/cdaBSBkGKr >**


July 14, 2013

If you have plans to see the newly released movie, Copperhead, you can get a quick overview of Civil War battles at: 
http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=civil+war+timeline&mid=E42761EAE9357F7B40BEE42761EAE9357F7B40BE&view=detail&FORM=VIRE2

I did not realize that Paducah, Kentucky, my home town, was the site of some Civil War battles. Grant even built a pontoon bridge across the Ohio River at the landing place that we call "the foot of Broadway."


July 9, 2013

Snakes on a train! Check this out: http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/07/09/snake-on-a-train-reptile-slithers-onto-flooded-toronto-rail-car-disastrous-commute-gets-even-worse/ 

July 7, 2013

Here's a clip showing the flight coming in for landing and also showing the moment of impact: 
http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/07/us/plane-crash-main/

Just a word of caution for your fliers -- always, always keep your seat belts fastened even when you're sitting in your seat and the plane is en route. Just an extra precaution, but one that could save your life. Wind shears and sudden air pockets could send you careening out of control and maybe make contact with the ceiling. 

This clip shows an animation of the plane coming in for landing. You can see how the tail came off at the sea wall: 
http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/bestoftv/2013/07/07/nr-sfo-crash-animation.cnn.html


July 6, 2013

News unfolding - plane crashed on landing at San Francisco Airport. Early thinking is that the plane experienced a hard landing which broke the tail of the plane off. I heard that there were 293 people aboard and it appears that all survived. But then, I just heard on the tv news that the U.S. Coast Guard has pulled someone out of the water. Also heard on one news report that there will be casualties because of smoke inhalation and burns. Also, reports on Fox News say that there have been two deaths. Prayers lifted for all.

For those who are interested in what a hard landing looks like, take a look at these clips: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj_LatoDv0w -- We had a hard landing going into Heathrow Airport in London several years ago. It was spooky and made us quickly realize that the old saying that any landing you walk away from is a good landing. But then our landing didn't damage the aircraft. It just sounded like the landing gear had come through the floor of the plane (it hadn't).

And here's a series of landings in Dusseldorf -- what do you get when you cross an icy runway, crosswinds and 747s? 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=la-hSjKP2TU  you know there was some heavy duty praying during those landings.


July 4, 2013

Having a wonderful 4th of July! How about you? 

Gotta listen to the Voices of Liberty sing the Star Spangled Banner: 
http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2013/07/04/Voices-of-Libert-Sing-The-Star-Spangled-Banner

Have a safe Independence Day.


June 30, 2013

Want to know what you could see from a drone at 17,500 feet? Talk about the latest in technology! https://youtube.googleapis.com/v/AHrZgS-Gvi4?ytsession=QJjeRrVzzKDXJ54RgHkPil8o4Zi8RJuy1Zn7rXNaXIQwTD4is2hEZ9cCRkklE-nwfHKPHulQmf-lMY3OliowXWivYmoX8WD7bzDLJt-B7ce2sHnif4jCFUN-O_Nsg-nhE1_K00v6jW-JUn1d5NXe5w


June 29, 2013

Oh wow! 

Before you go see Copperhead, you might want to review what happened at the Battle of Gettysburg. Gettysburg is the first movie of a trilogy produced by Ron Maxwell. God and Generals is the third, and now Copperhead.

Quint and I have decided to go back and re-review our knowledge of the Civil War. And this link will take you to the Battle of Gettsburg. It's done by the Smithsonian and shows who was where during that bloodies of battles. What the generals saw and includes a map of the area. 
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/A-Cutting-Edge-Second-Look-at-the-Battle-of-Gettysburg.html

Prepare to be amazed. It was a lot of work to put the battle plan together so that we can understand what each one of the generals saw.


June 23, 2013

Now this is what I'm talking about! Just listen to the fans' reaction to the National Anthem before a game between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks: 
http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2013/06/22/chicago-city-big-shoulders-national-anthem-tops-charts/nzUfXZBmP5zmDKA79ZtI6M/story.html Thanks to the Boston Globe for the link.

Here's a little philosophy lesson from my good friend Cody: 
http://play.simpletruths.com/lp/store/?mid=406

June 19, 2013

Here's a great video that strikes a happy chord in my heart. It's called "Putting up the Flag." 
http://puttinguptheflag.com/

Hard to believe that it's been more than a week since I sat down here at the computer. Been running. And today I'm continuing to make biscuits for the Father-Son Breakfast at church on Saturday. So far I've made 8 dozen. That leaves 8 dozen to go before Friday night. Love homemade biscuits. Am making them from scratch too! Another lady is making the sausage gravy to put ont the biscuits. Bon appetite.

So let me ask you a question. Do you think a snake could learn to open a door? Think not? Then this video will scare the beegeebers out of you! 
http://vimeo.com/9841493

 

June 11, 2013

Prayers lifted for all our friends and readers in Europe who are experiencing the devastating floods! We keep you in our prayers daily. Be safe.

Got this quiz from Cousin Mark. See if you can guess how many of these statements are true. 

(Answers are   below.)  1. Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in   the morning.
                            2. Alfred Hitchcock did not have a belly button.  3.   A pack-a-day smoker will lose approximately 2 teeth every 10 years..
                            4.   People do not get sick from cold weather; it's from being indoors a lot   more.  5. When you sneeze, all bodily functions
                           stop, even your   heart!  6. Only 7% of the population are lefties.  7. 40-people   are sent to the hospital for dog bites
                           every minute.  8. Babies are born   without kneecaps. They don't appear until they are 2-6       years old.  9. The average
                           person over 50 will have spent 5 years   waiting in lines.  10. The toothbrush was invented in 1498.  11.   The average housefly
                           lives for one month.  12. 40,000 Americans are   injured by toilets each year.  13. A coat hanger is 44 inches long when 
                            straightened.  14. The average computer user blinks 7-times a   minute.  15. Your feet are bigger in the afternoon than any
                           other time   of day.  16. Most of us have eaten a spider in our sleep.  17. The   REAL reason ostriches stick their head in
                           the sand is to search for   water.  18. The only two animals that can see behind themselves   without turning their heads
                           are the rabbit and the parrot.  19. John   Travolta turned down the starring roles in 'An Officer and a Gentleman' and   'Tootsie.'
                            20. Michael Jackson owned the rights to the South Carolina   State Anthem.  21. In most television commercials advertising
                           milk, a   mixture of white paint and a little thinner is used in place of the   milk.  22. Prince Charles and Prince William
                           NEVER travel on the   same airplane, just in case there is a crash.  23. The first Harley   Davidson motorcycle built in 1903
                           used a tomato can for a   carburetor.  24. Most hospitals make money by selling the umbilical   cords cut from women who give
                           birth. They are used in vein transplant   surgery.  25. Humphrey Bogart was related to Princess Diana. They were   7th cousins.
                            26. If coloring weren't added to Coca-Cola, it would be   green.   Now, scroll down for the   answers...        They   are
                           all TRUE  Now go back and think about 16 ! 

 

June 2, 2013

With all the tornadic activity in the central United States, and particularly Oklahoma, thought you'd like to see some footage shot by Tim Samaras and his son Paul. 
http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/06/02/the-stunning-tornado-videos-of-storm-chaser-tim-samaras-who-has-died/ Sad to say that Tim died this most recent Friday was storm chasing. Carl Young also died on Friday while chasing tornadoes. Here's that story: http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/02/us/midwest-weather/index.html

We also lost a sheriff in Arkansas, I believe. The sheriff was trying to rescue some people who were stranded. 

 

May 26, 2013

I don't know who said this, but I agree wholeheartedly:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.  

We thank all our soldiers and sailors and coast guards and marines and air force people and everyone else who ever served in our Armed Forces. We thank you for your bravery and your sacrifice that you have gifted the American people. And the sacrifices your spouses and children made in sharing you with a grateful nation. Thank you. 

Today I am "playing" in the food lab that I call my kitchen. I am making ice cream sandwiches. To do this, I'm using a red velvet cake mix and baking a thin layer of batter. Then I will use a 50/50 mixture of cheesecake flavored cream cheese and vanilla ice cream. Then put another layer of thin cake batter on it and freeze it. When it is frozen, then I will cut into ice cream sandwich sizes and put in baggies and stash in the freezer. Sound yummy? For the layer of batter, I'm using a square pyrex baking dish and putting a thin layer of batter in it. Then I baked the first layer for 12 minutes. The second layer is in the oven. I only have one square pan so it will take several steps to get it all done.

 

May 20, 2013

Inside fo women's handbugs are filty. At least one in five are. That's the news from a medical report released recently. And who would have thought that we had to wash out the inside of our handbags? More likely, maybe we ought to dunk the bags in pools of antiseptic. Oh yuk! But filthier than a toilet? C'mon, it can't be that bad. But apparently it is. Read more here: 
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/260728.php

Not only that but who designed those handbags to have a dark interior? I mean, how can I find anything if the inside of my purse is black? I made a vow not too long ago that I would not buy a purse of any king, shape or design unless it had a light colored material on the inside. Fortunately I'd guess that I'm one of the 80 percenters who have a clean handbag interior. That's mainly because I wash my hands a lot. And I use soap while I'm at it. But it still aggrevates me to no end when I have to just about touch everything in my purse before I find what I was looking for.
 
 
Ever been to the Sistine Chapel? Neither have I. Italy/Rome/the Vatican are not countries we made our way into when we went over there. So I am thrilled to find this link to a virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel: http://www.vatican.va/various/cappelle/sistina_vr/index.html

Oh my goodness -- is this ever adorable! http://youtube.googleapis.com/v/pfxB5ut-KTs?ytsession=1yGLseHhiBEYDQ0lmNazMknvaqKAHS6uE4oU3T2Cn0uWl3QxkNwt68-scJuCBNrDHXDKebqWoRVdWA_XhYsSf64EOndZpEEzBCri15nc6v8PikbN--F_yGAFC4XFEpJV6jB63ELxJd_rHhhp1jQeUg Look at all those little babies dancing to their hearts content!

 

May 18, 2013

Funny little skit about Lutheran Airlines: 
http://minx.cc/?post=340122

I've mentioned solar cycles and solar flares fairly often around here but you need to know that we are going to be in this sun cycle until 2019. And just during this next week alone, there's supposed to be some pretty disruptive stuff going on. Read more here: 
http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/increased-solar-flares-disrupt/12488287

We've never given up our land line just because of something disruptive like this -- as a possibility. The other reason is that in case of any national emergency, there's a very strong likelihood that all cell phone service would be interrupted  kind of like what happened during the Boston Bombing Massacre. No cell phones because there was a fear that, at least until the perps were caught, there might have been a likelihood that someone using his or her cell phone could have triggered another bomb explosion. 

There's a lot of other things I'll give up before I kiss my land line goodbye.

 

May 13, 2013

Ukraine's Got Talent! You bet they do. Just watch this amazing young acrobat -- 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLmImBUBRdc

Britain's Got Talent too -- take a look at these Shadow Dancers: http://www.flixxy.com/britains-got-talent-shadow-theatre-group-attraction.htm#.UZJgPhzvvh8

It happened yesterday -- Monday. It was one giant huge magnanimous burst of energy on the sun. Look at this article and bask in the marvel of the star in the middle of our solar system: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22525233 
 
 

May 12, 2013

How'd he do that? Good magic trick: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=nZM4Iu0sosM&vq=medium

This is a song by Jackie Evancho -- an amazing 11 year old girl -- what a voice!! 
http://www.staged.com/video?v=NtK

May 6, 2013

Interesting animated cartoon about the history of money: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mII9NZ8MMVM

 

May 5, 2013

Check out Metallica playing the national anthem: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iADXhG5MUj8

DeMint says immigration reform will cost Americans trillions: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/may/5/jim-demint-immigration-reform-will-cost-americans-/ 

 

April 29, 2013

This is a hilarious Jeff Gordon taking an unsuspecting car salesman for a test drive in a 2009 Camaro: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Q5mHPo2yDG8


April 25, 2013

So let me ask you something - when you see a deer crossing sign, do you think it's there for the deer, or for the drivers? Apparently this woman thinks it's for the deer because she has had several accidents at or near a deer crossing sign and thinks the signs ought to be moved so that the deer won't think it's a safe place to cross the highway!?? 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFCrJleggrI

 

April 24, 2013

We're read about sinkholes in the news recently -- especially in Florida. But those sinkholes have to go a long way to rival this whirlpool in Latvia. My goodness, I've never seen anything like this before! Absolutely amazing. 
http://www.angelfire.com/ak2/intelligencerreport/whirlpool.html

April 25, 2013

Want to see something absolutely amazing? I know -- everything amazes me. But this is really, really amazing. It's a 3-year version of the Sun's rotation speeded up into a 3 minute video: http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/04/25/watch-the-sun-burp-boil-and-roil-in-this-mesmerizing-video-capturing-three-years-of-solar-activity/   It's from NASA and it shows the sun boiling, rotating really fast and lots of solar flares. And for those who say there is no God, I say, "You do that."

And speaking of solar flares, watch this one: 
http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/04/25/watch-the-sun-burp-boil-and-roil-in-this-mesmerizing-video-capturing-three-years-of-solar-activity/ Good thing the sun is 93million miles away; otherwise, we'd all be fried with that spewing forth of hot plasma!


April 22, 2013

We need to celebrate the achievements of people who overcome outstanding odds. This young 16 year old sings the National Anthem at a University of Kentucky vs. Ole Miss basketball game: 
http://zanylol.com/anthem.html 

She was born with a virus that kept her optic nerve from forming. She hummed before she could talk. She taught herself to play the piano before she was two. And yes, she apparently taught herself how to sing the National Anthem. Her name is Marlana VanHoose and if she isn't a national treasure, I don't know what is!
 
Beautiful voice! Andrea Bocelli sings The Lords Prayer with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir: http://www.angelfire.com/ak2/intelligencerreport/bocelli_lord_prayer.html

 

April 21, 2013

Narrated by Fred Thompson, this video is entitled "And God Made A Patriot" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=dAV8cfmawPk

Building the Three Gorges Dam in China: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lwca1aka62w

 

April 10, 2013

Forget the snakes. What this link offers is a bunch of little kitties in awkward sleeping positions: http://newzwars.com/offbeat/15-cute-photos-of-kittens-sleeping-akwardly/

I picked daffodils this morning. Such a sweet fragrance from a big, big bouquet in the middle of the dining room table. I also have some tulips but they're still buds. People who know about such things recommend that if you want to keep squirrels out of your tulips, plant them among your daffodils. I tried it and it really works. Two years ago, I planted a bunch of tulips. I thought they'd be pretty in their own little bed. Unfortunately, I have some Master Gardener Squirrels living around here and they decided that the tulips would look good just about anywhere else. I spent a lot of time digging them up from the middle of the yard and other unlikely places. Apparently they even moved some of my tulips to other places n the neighborhood because a couple of neighbor ladies mentioned that tulips seemed to be sprouting in their yards all by themselves. Hmmm. Yeah, right.

April 8, 2013

So let me see now. A rattlesnake was found in a backpack at a school bus stop in Texas. Big snake. It was 42" long. Not likely that it would slither into the backpack all by itself, then zipper the thing shut so it could have a little siesta. I mean, nearly 4' long! Are you kidding me? Rattlesnakes are pretty close to the top of my list of unwanted critters. So the police, being the nice conservationists that they are, took the thing to a snake farm and it will apparently be returned to the wild after the investigation is complete. Check this out: http://www.kens5.com/home/NB-police-say-rattler-left-in-backpack-may-have-been-on-purpose-202024871.html

April 3, 2013

What do you know about atomic bombs? Here's an interesting link that shows how the mushroom cloud forms. I did not know that the temperature got to be 20,000 degrees -- that's hotter than the surface of the sun!

 http://www.waynesthisandthat.com/abombs.html 


Here's a real heart warmer. A Mama Duck had lain her eggs on the ledge of a bank in downtown Seattle (I think it was). Problem is, when it came time for the little baby ducks to go with Mama Duck to get into the water, Mama could fly but the babies couldn't. So this very big-hearted guy catches the babies as they drop off the ledge, one by one: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=9hnbmml8fOY&hd=1

Now isn't that just about the sweetest thing you ever saw?

April 2, 2013

Whether you call it irony or coincidence, check out the photos in this link:
 http://www.buzzfeed.com/awesomer/most-ironic-things-that-have-ever-happened
-- At the very least, they're comical.


If you had happened to be in a Catholic church in Miami for the Easter services, you would have enjoyed Andrea Bocelli sing Panis Angelicus during communion. If you weren't there and want to hear him sing, click this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHKQYFgkcB8 
Absolutely beautiful!

Here is Bocelli with Ana Maria Martinez in a duet Time to Say Goodbye -- incredible! http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=dtt1XyWKAnM&NR=1



April 1, 2013

Check out these dangerous mountainous roads from various places in the world:
 

 http://www.mediadump.com/hosted-id108-the-most-dangerous-roads-in-the-world.html 

You'll probably have to cut and paste the address into your web address spot to get the link to work.


 

March 31, 2013

Another disastrous side effect of wind turbines: a golden eagle flew into one of those humongous blades and died. Never mind the bats that have met their untimely demise -- this was a golden eagle. The owner of the wind turbine farm is looking at a $200,000 fine. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/03/31/nevada-wind-farm-could-face-hefty-fine-over-eagle-death/?test=latestnews 

One of my favorite "must see" sites when I'm on the web is the NASA site. Here is a video of travels around the earth at night from the ISS: http://129.164.179.22/apod/ap130331.html Amazing!

Did you hear about the bomb scare at the Eiffel Tower? Somebody called in a bomb threat and said explosives were put around the tower and were set to go off at 9:30. Along comes 10 pm and nothing happened but in the meantime, in an abundance of caution, the tower was evacuated. Take a look at these photos of what I think is one of the neatest landmarks in the City of Lights. We were in Paris in 1990 as the first stop across the pond as we embarked on our tour to see the Passion Play at Oberammagau but we landed in mid-morning, so we didn't get to see the spectacular Eiffel Tower all lit up. Quint did get credit for taking me to Paris for lunch on my birthday, though. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2301676/BREAKING-NEWS-1-500-people-evacuated-Eiffel-Tower-anonymous-phone-claimed-explosives-placed-landmark.html

And speaking of views of landmarks, this is a photo of the destruction of Meigs Field in Chicago, Illinois. Happened 10 years ago today. What I like about this photo is the Chicago skyline. The other is the runways at Meigs Field after they had been bulldozed with big x-es. And for why? Not really sure. http://pylonplace.blogspot.com/2013/03/ten-years-ago-story-of-meigs-field.html

Here's something not to do on Sunday afternoon -- unless, like this climber, you want to take a big slide down a snowy, rocky hill. This climber was one in a group of three climbers. The climber above him sent a chunk of frozen stuff down the hill and knocked Climber #2 down the hill. Quickly. Fortunately he only broke his leg: http://www.thebmc.co.uk/helmetcam-slide-snowdonia-accident-llanberis-mountain-rescue

March 25, 2013

Some of you may remember this crash of a B52 Stratofortress -- was in 1994. No one survived the crash. Story goes that it was a hot dogger flying the plane and he was practicing for an air show. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjFIB1L3BPU

He flew too close to the edge of the air.

And here's a MIG pilot who was at the edge of the air on the tarmac and, of all things, pulled up the landing gear: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Cunaek9W24

And on another matter, if you've been following the financial crisis in Cypress and wondered if such a fiasco could happen here in the U.S., you might want to take a look at this article by Roger Lowenstein. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/24/business/deposit-insurance-and-the-historical-reasons-for-it.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1& He traces the origins of finances, federal reserve, etc., in the U.S. Interesting reading if you're into the curiosities about how the banking industry has unfolded since practically the beginning of time.

I just have a question about the FDIC insurance in this country. According to this article, http://www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/changes.html if you have an account that bears interest, you don't have any unlimited coverage. That would include money market accounts and NOW accounts, if I read the article correctly. If you are fortunate enough to have amassed a nestegg, you'll want to check with a financial advisor to make sure your account/s are safe.

What happened in Cypress, apparently, is that there's an insurance on deposits up to 100,000. The hefty tax on those accounts is on funds over the 100,000 euro balance.  Withdrawals in Cypress banks now are limited to 100 euros per day.

And so it begins. Maybe. This just out -- the UK Independent Party is urging Brits living in Spain to pull their money out of the Spanish banks. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/ukip/9950083/Ukip-urges-Brits-to-withdraw-their-money-from-Spanish-banks.html

Folks, be very careful. Do absolutely what you need to do to make sure your retirement nesteggs are safe and your funds on deposit are safe. If you have an interest-bearing account in any kind of financial institution, check to see what your safety net includes.

And how about the new research that says parents are introducing solid food to their little babies before the babies are developmentally ready. Developmentally ready? What's that? Well, the baby needs to be able to sit up. The baby needs to be old enough to make those good bacteria that help digestion of solids take place. The baby needs to have developed a chewing mechanism. And the baby needs to be able to swallow the solid food. Here's an interesting article that's going around the news outlets today: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/03/25/health/many-babies-fed-solid-food-too-soon-cdc-finds.xml Read it and take care. If your baby is fussy, it doesn't necessarily mean the baby is hungry.

March 23. 2013

This has got to be the best Elvis impersonator I have ever heard: It caps off a week of the David Letterman Show where he did a week's worth of Elvis. http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=G8fjHJbF9Es 

Remember Steve Martin? Here's one of his best comedy stints ever: http://rubytooth.com/link/323819 It's a repeat of a 1992 guest appearance on the Johnny Carson show. I did not know he could play the banjo, did you?

Here's a link showing how our military made a pipeline in WWII so that the banks and trucks and jeeps on the continent could get the fuel they needed. I mean, after all, they couldn't just pull up to a loal gas station.   http://www.youtube.com/v/Nv9lBqPVuoE&feature=uploademail



March 19, 2013

One more day 'til Spring. It feels warmer already.

If you have pets, you'll want to check out this article. Here's a link to some things you can find around the house that can be very dangerous - even deadly to your little four-paws: http://shine.yahoo.com/pets/26-household-items-poisonious-cats-38-dogs-130200299.html Be especially careful with Easter coming if you have Easter lilies in the house.



March 17, 2013

You've probably never wondered what Lutherans do with their beer bottles -- but just on the off chance that you might have, here's something from St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Park Ridge, Illinois: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k26nt3Y4cmg&feature=related

What fun!

If you're missing George H. W. Bush yet, here's a re-run of the White House Correspondents'dinner: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4N93jLVPIA

Here's Carol of the Bells played on beer bottles. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbEFLrcE6RU

This is a fantastic video of a gentleman who goes around the world compiling videos of dancers. Unbelievable. And such happy events that all the dancers shared: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap120710.html -- Thank you, Joyce, for sharing.



Jim Carrey does a funny job impersonating Clint Eastwood at a roast: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vaa28xicJDE&NR=1&feature=endscreen

Some commercials are interesting: http://vimeo.com/61275290 -- Emmmmmmma!


March 15, 2013

A coronal mass ejection occurred today about 3 a.m. EDT. It has directed particles heading for the earth and should "hit' us by late Sunday or early Monday. Take a look at this "incredilgusto" photo of this CME: http://phys.org/news/2013-03-earth-directed-coronal-mass-ejection-sun.html NASA warns us that we can expect some geologic events as well as possible electronic problems. Stay tuned, as they say.  It will either be a big dud or something magnanimously out of this world.

You heard that there's going to be a competition for pole dancers right here in the good old USA! Only in America. Well, here's what a "pole dance" ought to look like. The Polonaise is just so exquisite. Why do we have to look at women who are grotesquely underdressed? Why can't we have some since of class and elegance? Look at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3e1OH1BpjA In my view, this has real wow factor.

Here's something you don't see every day - a video of the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake. This is a mean snake, I don't care what they say. Anything that long and that venomous is on my Run From list. The Eastern Diamondback's strike speed is 92 mph. That's faster than I can run so my best bet is not to be in the same state where they live. And venomous? OMG This thing can kill four people if they shoot out a full load of venom. I'd say that about the only thing they'd be good for is to vacuum out all their venom and make anti-toxin out of it. Well, actually they're good for keeping the rat population down too. Otherwise, we'd have a run on the plague. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRtWT7OMyTQ

Just to keep you up to date on what's happening to the politics in the US, today the House defeated that minimum wage bill. And you know that if it doesn't get out of the House, it goes nowhere. The vote was 233-184. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/mar/15/house-defeats-minimum-wage-increase/ It's just not a good time to raise the minimum wage by any amount with the economy racing toward a bubble burst. My concern is when the Dow hits $15,000. I think that, at that point, the economy will hit the slippery slope and the unsustainable climb will just go pop! By how much? I think I agree with a couple of the economists I've been following who are talking about a 4 or 5% slide into hell for some vulnerable investors. (That's what economist calls a "correction.")

March 14, 2013

Here's a wonderful quote from Francis I  -- the new pope: When we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, and when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord.

Thank you, Francis I. Another of his strong convictions is that all politicians who support abortions should be denied communion.

March 10, 2013

Feel like taking a virtual 360 degree tour of what you'd see if you could enter the Sistine Chapel? Click this link: http://www.vatican.va/various/cappelle/sistina_vr/index.html 

It's particularly appropos since the Conclave of Cardinals will begin meeting on Tuesday.

March 9, 2013

It doesn't happen very often but here's a video that is less than a minute of what will be agony for the rest of this high school basketball's memory. The player took his team out of the running of a semi-finals contest in Oklahoma just becasue he put the bball into the wrong basket: http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2013/03/09/video-the-worst-play-in-basketball-history/

Oops. "My bad" doesn't even cover that one.

March 8, 2012

For all those folks who are really really worried about global warming and the earth melting, good news is here. It has to do with a greatly reduced amount of sunspot activities. I realize that there have been some incredible sunspots recently, but take a look at this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2290289/NASA-warns-unexpected-happening-Sun-year-supposed-peak-sunspot-cycle.html See -- hardly any activity at all. Do you think all those proposed carbon taxes will disappear when we go into another mini ice age?

March 6, 2013

Hobby Lobby may close.
Hobby Lobby is filing suit as a last ditch effort to gain release from the mandates imposed by health care rules. In fact, here's the statement released by its Christian president:

With great reluctance, we filed a lawsuit today, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, asking a federal court to stop this mandate before it hurts our business. We don’t like to go running into court,but we no longer have a choice. We believe people are more important than the bottom line and that honoring God is more important than turning a profit.

Stay tuned.


March 3, 2013

This link is to an amazing story of a young man who walked ten miles in snow and ice to get a minimum wage jog: http://www.viddler.com/embed/70d1d214/?f=1&offset=0&autoplay=0&secret=48017121&disablebranding=0 -- I may have put the link on last week, but it's well worth another look. Besides, it wasn't this depiction of the story.


Here's some animals that aren't necessarily the cute, adorable little things we've seen in other links: http://www.viddler.com/embed/70d1d214/?f=1&offset=0&autoplay=0&secret=48017121&disablebranding=0

 

I have just had one of the most interesting experiences of my life. It was a live broadcast on Facebook. The president of the national LWML hosted the broadcast and this week's event focused on an article I had written some time ago about the blessings of stress for The Lutheran Women's Quarterly. People from all over the country were on live this morning asking questions about stress and how to wrap solutions about stress around a life with God.

Each week Kay, the LWML president, is inviting a different article author to join her in the live discussion.

My prayer is that God used me somehow to reach other people. You can also download the article that I had about stress at the Facebook site www.facebook.com/TheLWML -- it's a Bible Study about the blessings of stress.

I also got friend requests from hundreds of new people. From Hawaii, to Texas, to Iowa, to Wisconsin -- to name a few.

I truly believe that within each of the countries that have readers to this web site are pockets of people who hunger, as I do, for a firm relationship with God. We seek out those people who can held solidify that relationship on our journey to get closer to Him. In so doing, we share each others burdens.

People are awesome, aren't they? I got this video from my cousin Mark. It's a video about amazing people doing amazing things. http://awsom.tv/post/41196204035/people-are-awesome-2013-via

Grandparents are awesome too. Mark sent me these comments from little tykes:

1.   She was in the bathroom, putting on her makeup, under the watchful 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 will 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 quiet 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 heard the children getting
more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin. Finally, she threw a towel
around her head and stormed into 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 o ur 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.
"What's 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 it 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!"

8. When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept the lights off
until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky 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 says I'm 4 to 6."

10.. A second grader came home from school and said to her grandmother, "Grandma,
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?"
"It's simple," replied the girl. "You just change 'y' to 'i' and add 'es'."

11. Children's Logic: "Give me a sentence about a public servant," sa id a teacher.
The small boy wrote: "The fireman came down the ladder pregnant." The teacher took
the lad aside to correct him. "Don't you know what pregnant means?" she asked.
"Sure," 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 dog's duties.
"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 airport."

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!

February 26, 2013

Want to know the real source of global warming? Hint: It's not from driving SUVs around. http://129.164.179.22/apod/ap130226.html

Reading the caption, you will note that the time lapse says that the video took place over many, many hours. Global warming is not man-made. No doubt it's happening though. But man is just a tiny little being in the scope of things. There's a bigger hand at play out there in the universe and He's watching us all the time. One plasmic zap from the sun could wipe out our satellite systems in a flash, so to speak.

Changing the subject, we send our condolences to the families and loved ones of 18 folks who lost their lives in a horrible hot air balloon accident as the balloon was flying over the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. The balloon exploded and crashed. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2284548/Egypt-hot-air-balloon-crash-2-Britons-dead-2-critical-18-tourists-Luxor-killed.html

Here's a heartwarming story about a young man who walked ten miles through snow and ice to get a minimum wage job: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/02/25/restaurant-owner-finds-dedicated-teen-walking-10-snowy-miles-for-job-interview-guess-where-hes-working-now/ - Congratulations to the restaurant owner, too, for getting a real winner for an employee.

February 25, 2013

And they call the wind Mariah. Check out this link to a wind map of the United States: http://fm/wind amazing!

February 23, 2013

That was some crash at the Daytona 500 this afternoon. Wow! Cars were flying everywhere -- engines came off and went through the fence and got up into the stands. A number of injuries but miracle of miracles -- no fatalies. Check out this link: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nascar/2013/02/23/huge-car-crash-mars-nationwide-series-race-at-daytona/1941529/

And this video link takes you to an IMAX Fighter Pilot Operation Red Flag event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V30f88a8OTA -- I'd love to see this video at an IMAX theater like the one at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Those videos are on 80 mm film. What an incredible experience. This is a good experience too. All 48 minutes of it. Enjoy!

February 19, 2013

Do you know how much it hurts when you laugh so hard coffee comes out your nose? Take a look at this video - without any coffee in your mouth: https://www.youtube.com/v/IQfZY5rvXX0%26rel=0%26hl=en_US%26feature=player_embedded%26version=3

February 17, 2012

Are you ready for a little history? Mark sent me this story and if you ever get to Chicago, zipping through O'Hare Airport, you'll know why it was named as it was:

Two Stories BOTH TRUE - and worth reading!

STORY NUMBER ONE

Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago . Capone wasn't famous for
anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything
frombootlegged booze and prostitution to murder. Capone had a lawyer nicknamed 'Easy
Eddie.' He was Capone's lawyer for agood reason. Eddie was very good! In fact,
Eddie's skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.

To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the
money big, but Eddie got special dividends, as well.
For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with
live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day.
The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block.

Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little
consideration to the atrocity that went on around him.
Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved
dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars,
and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object.
And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to
teach him right from wrong.
Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was.
Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he
couldn't give his son; he couldn't pass on a good name or a good example.
One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to
rectify wrongs he had done.

He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al
'Scarface' Capone, clean up his tarnished name,
and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would
have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be
great. So, he testified.

Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a
lonely Chicago Street. But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest
gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay.
Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious
medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine.

The poem read:
'The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to
tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour.
Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no
faith in time. For the clock may soon be still.'


STORY NUMBER TWO

World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant
Commander Butch O'Hare.
He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in
the South Pacific.
One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was
airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had
forgotten to top off his fuel tank.
He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back
to his ship.
His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he
dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.

As he was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that turned
his blood cold; a squadron of Japanese aircraft was speeding its way
toward the American fleet.
The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but
defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to
save the fleet.
Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only
one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet.
Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the
formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he
charged in,
attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in
and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as
possible
until all his ammunition was finally spent.
Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to
clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible,
rendering them unfit to fly.
Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction.
Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to
the carrier.

Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his
return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale.
It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet.
He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft.

This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became
the Navy's first Ace of W.W.II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the
Congressional Medal of Honor.
A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His
home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and
today,
O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this
great man.

So, the next time you find yourself at O'Hare International, give some
thought to visiting Butch's memorial displaying his statue and his Medal
of Honor.
It's located between Terminals 1 and 2.

SO WHAT DO THESE TWO STORIES HAVE TO DO WITH EACH OTHER? 

Butch O'Hare was 'Easy Eddie's' son.


Prepare to melt away your heart. Here's a link to a little 5 year old girl who called 911 when her father was apparently having a heart attack. Just listen: http://www.maniacworld.com/stay-calm-dad.html Wow!
Big discussions about raising the minimum wage here in the United States from $7.25 to $9.00 per hour. Lots of studies are out there that show raising the minimum waige has a deleterious effect on employment. Take this for instance: http://confoundedinterest.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/vat-is-das-minimum-wage-unemployment-and-investor-driven-housing-recovery/

I'd just like to take the thought of a small business owner.

Let's say that I can only to afford to hire enough 1/4 time employees (after school students) and pay no more than $1500 in the aggregate every week.

At $7.25 per hour, that means I can buy 206 hours of employment.

Taking that same $1500 at $9.00 per hour means that I can only buy 166 hours.

The difference is 40 hours. I can compute that without my handy dandy little calculator. Forty hours spread over 1/4 time student employees if 4 real people who won't be able to work at my establishment. That means that you could work for me, but your three favorite buddies couldn't.

So, given that scenario -- will someone please tell me how raising the minimum wage helps improve the employment picture?

On another subject: this is about how you can set up an experiment to test for psychological stress and not let the subjects of the experiment know you're intentionally stressing them out. Stress is, after all, a continuing concern no matter where you live. How can you research how much stress a person is feeling when the "victim" is "in on it" and knows it's a scripted stress that will be over with when the research is done.

Some research, in fact, was halted by the American Psychological Association when the research went too far even when the stressed subjects knew about the experiment.

However, in Germany recently, someone at an airport walked around taking pictures of people at random. Then, very quickly, the photos were inserted into wanted posters and distributed throughout the airport. Then the posters made headline news on the overhead TV monitors. The people who were shown had no idea they were part of a big experiment on stress.

Watch the outcome here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gWk_yKtEdo&feature=youtu.be

February 16, 2013

And then there was the Super Bowl. Where would the halftime be without the Clydesdales? Take a look at this precious ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPG7PcI67dE

This is one of my all-time favorites : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Xb4kLo4Gp0&NR=1&feature=endscreen I realize that it's a scripted commercial but don't you wonder how much animals really communicate to one another? I think they communicate much more than humans give them credit for.

I love to watch people who are enjoying themselves dancing. And I equally enjoy watching children dancing. When these two are combined, here's an incredible combination: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jqb3z2sQ6PM -- You think they don't feel the rhythm? !!

I never rode a subway when in New York, but I can only imagine. Then Mark sent me this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=47e3vjA_4uc Who knows, maybe someday this is what the Chicago subways will look like.

I did read some while ago that a "good" panhandler back in the early 90s was making some $50,000 a year. Lived in a better condo than I did. Lost my benevolent spirit for street moochers. I mean, I can help more people by donating to human care agencies who help people who are in need. And, of course, the church.

Here's a compilation of what's supposed to be the best commercials of this year's Super Bowl: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65t7LSknGdE&feature=endscreen&NR=1


February 15, 2012

Amazing footage of a big meteor hitting the earth. Happened in Russia. It was big and it exploded in the atmosphere before it actually struct the earth. Lots of damage, mostly from breaking glass. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXvrNUXxm9E

If you love cats, you'll get a kick out of these felines showing how they amuse themselves. The folks over at Cheeseburger put a new video out every Wednesday. Remember, laughter is a good way to say good riddance to burnout. http://cheezburger.com/47540993

February 13, 2013

A little mini-factoid that I found on my way to looking something else up. Some late research says that one of the most effective "cures" for burnout is laughter. So laugh until your sides ache, my friends. Something else you might want to know is this: Involve yourself in creative pursuits -- even if it's just observing a view that strikes your fancy. Creativity has a lot to do with dopamines that attach to pleasure centers in your brain. If you can't take a hike, then go on these visual excursions that Shirley sent. Enjoy life and life enjoys you!
Feel up to taking a little trip out west? Shirley sent clips to some incredible photos from Utah. But it isn't just the photos. You can hold your cursor down and move the view to the right, left, up or down:

http://www.utah3d.net/utah-travel/canyonlands/grand-view.html -- Canyonlands National Park - Grand View Point

http://www.utah3d.net/utah-travel/capitol-reef/sulphur-creek.html - Capitol Reef National Park - Sulphur Creek

http://www.utah3d.net/utah-travel/arches/double-arch.html - Double Arch in Arches National Park

http://www.utah3d.net/utah-travel/wasatch-mountains/payson-canyon.html - Wasatch Mountains -- Payson Canyon

  

A little language trivia from my cousin Mark:

UP

This two-letter word in English has more meanings than any other two-letter word,
and that word is ' UP .' It is listed in the dictionary as an [adv], [prep], [adj],
[n] or [v].

It's easy to understand UP , meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but
when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ? Why do we speak UP , and why are the
officers UP for election (if there is a tie, it is a toss UP ) and why is it UP to
the secretary to write UP a report?We call UP our friends, brighten UP a room,
polish UP the silver, warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the
house and fix UP the old car.

At other times, this little word has real special meaning . People stir UP trouble,
line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.

To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.

And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is blocked UP .

We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty
mixed UP about UP !

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP , look UP the word UP in the
dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can
add UP to about thirty definitions.

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.
It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP , you may wind UP with
( UP to) a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP . When the sun comes out, we say
it is clearing UP . When it rains,the earth soaks it UP. When it does not rain for
awhile, things dry UP . One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP , for now . . .
my time is UP !

And then, there's these funny little vignettes, also from Mark:

No one believes seniors . . . everyone thinks they are senile.
An elderly couple was celebrating their sixtieth anniversary. The couple had married
as childhood sweethearts and had
moved back to their old neighborhood after they retired.. Holding hands, they walked
back to their old school. It was not locked, so they entered, and found the old desk
they'd shared, where Andy had carved “I love you, Sally.” 
 
On their way back home, a bag of money fell out of an armored car, practically
landing at their feet. Sally quickly picked
it up and, not sure what to do with it, they took it home. There, she counted the
money - fifty thousand dollars!
 
Andy said, “We’ve got to give it back.”
 
Sally said, “Finders keepers.” She put the money back in the bag and hid it in
their attic.

The next day, two police officers were canvassing the neighborhood looking for the
money, and knocked on their door. “Pardon me, did either of you find a bag that
fell out of an armored car yesterday?”
   
Sally said, “No”.
   
Andy said, “She’s lying. She hid it up in the attic.
   
Sally said, “Don’t believe him, he’s getting senile”

The agents turned to Andy and began to question him.

One said: “Tell us the story from the beginning.”
   
Andy said, “Well, when Sally and I were walking home from school yesterday ...”
 
The first police officer turned to his partner and said, “We’re outta here!”

And --

And Then:
Earl and Bubba are quietly sitting in a boat fishing,
chewing tobacco and drinking beer when suddenly
Bubba says, "Think I'm gonna divorce the wife - she
ain't spoke to me in over 2 months."

Earl spits overboard, takes a long, slow sip of beer and says, "Better think it
over..............
women like that are hard to find."


Oh my goodness, will you just look at this! The other day Quint and I were just talking about the newest, biggest, baddest TV screen. "How could anything be worth a half million dollars?" I asked. Then I saw this clip: http://www.cseed.tv/design/movie.html -- It's wild. Now I know. That's some house. Probably doesn't come with the Porsche though. And wouldn't they worry about rain dripping down into that hole that the LED screen came out of? Just wondering. Thank you, Mark. I'll bet you don't have one of these in your back yard. I'm going to check next time I come see you.


I'm so lucky because I got this clip from both my cousins. http://www.wimp.com/christianlion/ It's about a lion cub that was raised from infancy, then returned back to the wild. This clip shows their meeting after some time has passed. They were warned that their pet lion had reverted back to being a wild animal and wouldn't recognize them. But you just watch!

And thank you, Mark and Al, for sharing this with all of us.

My final link for today is this one from Mark. He says it's about some masculine moments: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvlQYi5LoYM&feature=youtu.be




February 12, 2013

One of my favorite favorite places to go to on the web is www.ted.com - a most amazing place. To give you an idea, here is a link to a photographic excursion in the womb from conception to birth. Absolutely breathtaking and beautiful. http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=fKyljukBE70 -- and especially to a microbiology student, Elizabeth, who is studying at Eastern Illinois University. Say hello to Elizabeth, everybody. And Elizabeth, watch this video if you have time or inclination. You will enjoy it. I suspect.
And today is the day we remember Abraham Lincoln, America's Civil War President. Happy birthday, Abe!

Got this funny -- or at least cute -- video link from cousin Mark. It's called The Green Side of the Grass: http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/6dbBfXCMbH4?rel=0%22

February 10, 2013

And just who is this Dr. Benjamin Carson? Well, if you haven't looked him up in Wikipedia, let me tell you that he is a pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University. He was the first surgeon to successfully separate twins who were joined at the head. He is a "pull yourself up out of poverty" kind of guy. He was invited to address the nation at the National Day of Prayer not too long ago. And in case you haven't heard his speech, here is a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyyHegP255g

Reminds me of my own childhood. We had next to nothing in money. And when I would go to my grandmother and complain that I hated being poor, she'd tell me that we weren't poor -- just broke. Big difference. And I've never forgotten it as I've gone through life. Sometimes broke; sometimes not. But poor? Nope. Poverty is a state of mind and I do not want to go there.

And here are the photos of Richard III's remains: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-21063882

Everyone is buzzing about both these topics, from what I hear in my galloping around the internet.

Here's a link to a cat that I could just love. Cat-cat got run over and after many surgeries, has become a lesson of style and grace, not to mention grace. I just love cats! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2275887/Caffrey-amazing-moggie-survives-legs--theyre-side.html#axzz2KX21lwCl


Pink hair? So how many women do you think could pull off pink hair? Dame Helen Mirren seems to be doing just fine with it. But most of all, I love the dress. Elegant and very ladylike: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2276596/BAFTA-Awards-2013-Dame-Helen-Mirren-shocks-debuts-new-dyed-bob.html#axzz2KX21lwCl

More photos of dresses, hairdos, tuxedos, etc. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2276515/BAFTA-Awards-2013-Caroline-Flack-leads-red-carpet-glamour-stunning-beaded-black-gown.html#axzz2KX21lwCl 
Oh, so those little peepholes in the ladies' dresses are called keyholes? Did not know that. And what's with that one yellow dress. It looks like half a dress that had the bottom half tacked on somehow. The woman who's wearing it should keep her arms down to her side so she doesn't give the dress' secret away. I could tell it if was supposed to be a mini that lost its identity at the last minute and had a bottom half added quickly in the dressing room. Guess those $gadzillion dresses are lost on me.


February 9, 2013

Found this beautiful rendition of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. It's 42 minutes so I'm guessing it's all four seasons. Play it in the background while you're doing something else on your computer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=GRxofEmo3HA&NR=1

February 8, 2013

We've been watching a Netflix production, The House of Cards. It's Kevin Spacey at his best even though the story is about corruption and greed and politicians in Washington, D. C. However, in one of the later episodes, Spacey's character goes back to his alma mater because they are naming a new library after him. Francis Underwood, I think. Point is, he and three of his buddies sang Shenandoah. Nothing like good harmony for this wonderful song. This isn't them, but it's a wonderful glee club doing the same song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QvoqvX2VPE

Not the same group, but a wonderful group of harmony singing Finlandia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDXNHPeRB0k

Here's the same anthem set against some beautiful photography: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5zg_af9b8c

This anthem is also set against photography, with the lyrics as well as some of the history of Finland and its quest for independence from being a duchy of the Russian empire: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XojVmivqDrA

Here is a beautiful choral presentation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGgu5iwP5Z8 -- Finlandi, Hymni

Even a flash mob offers its rendition at an airport: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO63xt2jWtc  What a celebration of joy and peace and pride for a very young nation that has nourished its soil with the blood of its patriots. The world salutes you!

So for all our readers from Finland, enjoy. Our hearts are with you in your independence and freedom and liberty.

Adding one of my all-time favorites, Ode to Joy, here is a group from Japan -- all 10,000 of them -- giving us Ode an die Freude. Absolutely beautiful.

And this, I'll bet, you've not seen anything like it: http://www.youtube.com/embed/XlyCLbt3Thk?rel=0 

 

 

January 30, 2013

My, oh my. This link shows a sinkhole that swallows up buildings! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/9833738/Sinkhole-swallows-whole-building-complex-in-China.html

Fortunately, no one was reported injured. But whole buildings?! Wow!

January 28, 2013

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn's powerful message at the National Day of Prayer: http://robcunninghamusa.com/2013/01/28/video-pastor-confronts-obama-america-is-a-christian-nation/

I pray that his message will be a wake-up call for many sinners who need to take that first little step toward regaining faith, or gaining a faith they may never have had.

It's simple. It requires crossing a threshold into a new beginning for your life. You don't have to make a big project out of it. Just find a church and walk through the doors. (I use the word church to mean any house of worship.)

Don't wait until you are doing "better" in your faith. Whatever that means. You are never going to get clean from your sins by yourself. Church is a place to go where you can get clean. It's where you metaphorically get cleansed by the blood of Christ.

If you feel like your sins have made you ill, then you need to know that the church is a hospital for sinners. You can exchange all those sins for a new life in Christ.

Just go through the door and feel the embrace of Christ's love.

If you believe that the church is full of hypocrites, then you ought to feel right at home if you think that at least you're honest enough to know you're a worthless piece of doodoo. But you're right -- as sinners we all live hypocritical lives. There's room for one more so come on in. Walk through the door.

Come on in and know the full salvation of Christ's love and what He did on the cross to save you and me alike. Just walk through the door. The Holy Spirit will guide you to faith and introduce you to the Savior of the world.

January 27, 2013

Want to see the five top scariest places on the planet? Take a look: http://www.cracked.com/article_19705_the-5-most-spectacular-landscapes-earth-that-murder-you.html

Here's a bear surprising a camera crew trying to set up a commercial in the frozen tundra north: http://www.angelfire.com/ak2/intelligencerreport/walking.html

And to change the subject: 

Lent is about increasing consciousness.

The story of Easter starts at Christmas because there would be no Calvary without Bethlehem.

From Ash Wednesday, it's a forty-day journey of mindfulness. It's about a growing awareness of just exactly what Jesus Christ's death on the cross means to each of us as Christians.

So, how many of you out there would quietly lie down on a cross so that Roman Soldiers could nail your hands to the crossbar? Everybody who would be willing to do that, raise your hands.

Not many hands up. In fact the number is somewhere between zero and negative 10. The negative numbers are those people who are sitting on their hands just to make sure they don't spontaneously shoot up in the air.

How exactly do you increase your mindfulness about salvation. That's what the trek through the Lenten season is all about. It's about become more and more thankful for the tremendous sacrifice that our Heavenly Father made by sending His only Son to die for the wrongdoing of all sinners. As a parent and as a human mother, I can tell you that I could not have done that to any of our children. This was absolutely, positively certain death for Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ was not a clone off another brother. God could have done that too. But He didn't. Nope. Jesus Christ was His one and only.

The willingness of Jesus Christ to lay down His life is something we need to think about during this trek through Lent.

In my view, how could anyone participate in gleeful festivals and parties?! At the risk of those of you out there who'd tell me to lighten up, I say go ahead. Just count me out. I'm thinking about other things while you're engaging in your not-so-mindful Lent festivals and parties. I have a right to practice my faith in ways that are deeply meaningful to me. You do too.

Does it mean that I go to heaven and you don't? Probably not. But for me, observing Lent is more about Sunday morning and midweek Lenten services. It's about an everyday-trek through my heart and mind. It's one long moment from Ash Wednesday to Easter. I'm not that good at multi-tasking where I can do that and also go to festivals.

So have at it. I'll see you at the cross.


January 26, 2013

Late Night Catechism -- very funny nun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Jrh_uuPmd0  There are other vignettes at the link which you can watch.

Here's a link of a father and son team: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=9xwCG0Ey2Mg The son is blind and wheelchair-bound. And thanks to his father, he is part of the University of Louisville Marching Band. Seeing is believing! And thanks to our friends, John and Sherre, in Wichita for sending the link. It just reminds me that God gives us talent, but not necessarily fame or fortune.

What could be more adorable than a half dozen Scottish Terrier puppies? Well, watching them "eat" in a common puppy bowl and moving around it like a pinwheel. You're just not going to believe it: http://uvideo100.com/pinwheel.html

I just love this video -- it's a little boy in who can't be more than 5 or 6 years old driving a front loader! He actually does a fantastic job and is so serious. I'm really impressed with his coordination: http://uvideo100.com/labor.html

After you watch it, answer me this question: do you think this young man would ever be satisfied playing with a Tonka truck? Not!

It seems to me that what makes these little boys so adorable is that they are doing big people stuff. Take this little tyke who crashed his dad's concert. Dad was singing Brown Eyed Girl and little Mr. Twinkie comes running over and decides to show off some of his moves to the crowd. Crowd went wild with appreciation. Baby takes pacifier back to his mom. Don't need this anymore since I'm out here playing with the big boys. http://uvideo100.com/concert.html

Want to see one good example of poetry in motion? Look at these Friesians. Beautiful black horses coming into their own in the field of dressage. http://uvideo100.com/friesian.html


January 24, 2013

Here's a link to a beautiful train ride. Oh the beauty of the trip! Ride along with Floyd Kramer's piano: http://www.openmyeyeslord.net/Train%20Ride.swf

Got this warning from my dear friend Norma:

WARNING FROM POLICE**
>>>
>>>        THIS APPLIES TO BOTH WOMEN AND MEN**
>>>
>>>        BEWARE OF PAPER ON THE BACK WINDOW OF YOUR VEHICLE--NEW WAY TO
>>>        DO CARJACKINGS (NOT A JOKE)
>>>
>>>        Heads up everyone! Please, keep this circulating.. You walk
>>>        across the parking lot, unlock your car and get inside. You
>>>        start the engine and shift into reverse..
>>>
>>>        When you look into the rearview mirror to back out of your
>>>        parking space, you notice a piece of paper stuck to the middle
>>> of the rear window. So, you shift into Park, unlock your doors,
>>>        and jump out of your car to remove that paper (or whatever it
>>>        is) that is obstructing your view. When you reach the back of
>>>        your car, that is when the carjackers appear out of nowhere,
>>>        jump into your car and take off. They practically mow you down
>>>        as they speed off in your car.
>>>
>>>        And guess what, ladies? I bet your purse is still in the car.
>>>
>>>        So now the carjacker has your car, your home address, your
>>>        money, and your keys. Your home and your whole identity are now
>>>        compromised!
>>>
>>>        BEWARE OF THIS NEW SCHEME THAT IS NOW BEING USED.
>>>
>>>        If you see a piece of paper stuck to your back window, just
>>>        drive away. Remove the paper later.  A purse contains all kinds of
>>>        personal information and identification documents, and you
>>>        certainly do NOT want it to fall into the wrong hands.**


This is a prayer that comes by way of my good friend, Cody, from Warrensburg. Thank you, Cody. I am especially happy to share with so many readers who live so far away -- many in countries that  persecute Christians. I lift each of you up in prayer for your physical and spiritual safety:

Prayer is one of the best and most powerful free gifts we receive. Read the prayer
below.


Saint Theresa's Prayer

May today there be peace within

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.


May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been
given to you.

May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.

Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing,
dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.

>>>       

January 22, 2013

Remember when I was talking about over-learning yesterday?

Today I'm thinking about over-thinking as part of that path to learning. Remember that learning is defined as relatively permanent and leads to some sort of behavior change. That behavior change can be something as simple as realizing that you're different because you've learned something new. That is to say, you don't have to go back to hula hoops for self-entertainment.

Today I am thinking about a physics idea. Not even sure you can call it a theorem yet, so I'll settle for an idea. It's called Higgs-Boson. It's an interesting thought - an idea -- and I want to understand it. So I found this link that was prepared by a physicist at the Fermilab. I figure if I listen to it over and over, I'll get a handle on Higgs-Boson. I do question the example of the portly gentleman going through the water with difficulty where the barracuda did not. In truth, all of the man was not in the water -- only half of him was, whereas all of the barracuda was moving through the water. But I'll have to study that thought some more. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIg1Vh7uPyw 

Here's a web site for some basic physics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnMIhxWRGNw&list=PLED25F943F8D6081C&index=10

My point is, we'd better be learning this stuff if we ever want to understand the world around us instead of having someone understand the world and explaining it to us. I mean, how do we know they'd be correct? We need to keep over-thinking and over-learning.

After all, my technique did get me through understanding some perplexing and difficult math structures in high school and my undergrad.

And my brain didn't even melt.

So I'm going to put this link about quantum physics here kind of as a bookmark because when I want to find it, I probably won't be able to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1TVZIBj7UA&list=PLED25F943F8D6081C 

But then, I could always ask Quint and he could explain it all to me.

January 21, 2013

January 21st already. Wow! How time goes flying by.

I received this link from my dear friend Linda in Lawrenceville: http://www.youtube.com/embed/8TT1XFS1LA0

If ever there is a story of the need for closure, this video poignantly points to the need. This is the story of a WWII widow who searched and searched and never gave up. And all the time her late husband was found in a grave at Normandy. But it's more than that. That would be too simple a story. Just watch and see what the little town in France has done to commemorate her husband all these years.

Linda also sent a link entitled The Beauty of Mathematics. If you have not seen this before, prepare to be amazed: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=h60r2HPsiuM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

It reminds me of when I was a little kid and used to "count letters." Don't know where I learned to do that but it was just fun. I counted the letters in my name, and words at school. For no good reason except as a mental exercise.

And thank you, Linda, for sharing this link with our readers.

While I was at the links, I noticed a video called Late Night Catechism. I knew the nun was Catholic. I mean, her habit was a big clue, right? So I clicked on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=h60r2HPsiuM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Oh how funny she is! The above link takes you to catechetical lesson #2 -- and there are others at the site. Enjoy!



January 19, 2013

We watched a Neil Young concert - Prairie Wind -- on Netflix last night. His signature song, at least as far as I'm concerned, is Heart of Gold. So while I was listening to that song, I really wanted to hear Horse With No Name. I was so certain that it was a Neil Young recording too. But it wasn't. America recorded it and here's a link, if you're interested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQzW6wz2JQk

At one point, Neil Young asked, "If there a guitar in the house?" Next thing you know, he's got about 8 guitars lined up playing with him on stage. Having taught guitar years ago at a park district up north, I am amazed that all the guitars were so in tune with one another, and the guitarists were so synchronized.

I watched a TED talk about sychronicity not too long ago. It seems that "all" things in nature try to synchronize with each other. So I put on my mental health hat and wonder if, for whatever reason, people can't synchronize with one another it's doom for a relationship from the start.

Anyway, if you haven't discovered TED talks yet, go to www.ted.com and listen to some of them. One of the criteria is that the talks can't be longer than 15-18 minutes and the speaker has to talk about an idea that will change the world. There are all sorts of categories to plug into. Go ahead. It's an easy way to learn something new.

My grandmother used to tell me that a day was wasted if I didn't learn one new thing.

She didn't have to lecture me much about that either. I loved studying and learning when I was in school. Loved it so much that I made up practice tests for myself when I was an undergrad. I would pick parts of the text that were particularly difficult to grasp and make "fill in the blank" exercises. I made a key with the answers as I went along. I would only do 50 blank questions or so at a time. Then I would test myself. I was amazed that even after reading the text, then writing it down with an important word replaced by a line to fill in, and writing the correct word or term on the key, the first time I took my little practice test, I would only get 50% or so correct. So I'd keep taking my little test until I got 95% correct. Then I would move on to another part of the textbook and do the same thing. And that is how I aced my tests.

Was it a lot of work? Yes!

Was it worth it? You bet!

Later when I taught psychology classes to undergrads, I told them what I did. Believe it or not, several of the students duplicated my "system." They were amazed to add such a simple method to their toolbox of learning skills.

Students often make an assumption that if they read something, and take good notes, then review their notes the night before an exam, that's all they need to get a good grade on tests. Some people can do that. Most can't. Most people need a few other techniques to help them out.

But for all those people who say, "I never was good at taking tests," I say, "Of course not because the secret to taking tests well is overlearning. It's going over and over and over the material until you can practically recite the information."

One thing that we've all over-learned is the alphabet. Another is the multiplication tables. That is, if you memorized the multiplication tables.

On another matter not related to anything above -- here's a link that shows ships in their rustic rusty final states lying on beaches at various places around the world: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2264903/Rust-glory-Poignant-pictures-capture-tragic-beauty-worlds-haunting-shipwrecks.html



January 17, 2013

One of the benefits I have enjoyed over the past several years after doing some genealogy research is finding a long lost cousin of mine in southeast Texas. We are related through my father's sister. A side benefit is that Frances has as much a sense of fun-loving human as I do. She sent this and I think you'll enjoy it too:

Why I Like Retirement !!!

Question: How many days in a week?
Answer: 6 Saturdays, 1 Sunday
and you know when it's Sunday
that's when the heavy paper comes



Question: When is a retiree's bedtime?
Answer: Three hours after he falls asleep in the recliner.


Question: How many retirees to change a light bulb?
Answer: Only one, but it might take all day.



Question: What's the biggest gripe of retirees?
Answer: There is not enough time to get everything done.


Question: Why don't retirees mind being called Seniors?
Answer: The term comes with a 10% discount.


Question: Among retirees what is considered formal attire?
Answer: Tied shoes.


Question:Why do retirees count pennies?
Answer:They are the only ones who have the time.



Question:Why are retirees so slow to clean out the basement, attic or garage?
Answer:They know that as soon as they do, one of their adult kids will want to store
stuff there.



Question: What do retirees call a long lunch?
Answer: Normal.


Question:What is the best way to describe retirement?
Answer: The never ending Coffee Break.


Question: What's the biggest advantage of going back to school as a retiree?
Answer: If you cut classes, no one calls your parents.



Question: Why does a retiree often say he doesn't miss work, but misses the people
he used to work with?
Answer: He is too polite to tell the whole truth.




And, my very favorite....
QUESTION: What do you do all week?
Answer: Monday through Friday, NOTHING..... Saturday & Sunday, I rest.


Thank you, Frances, and stay warm. I don't think the Houston area is getting all that many blessings from Mother Nature these days. I'm bracing for a predicted 5 degrees on Sunday. Brrrrr.

January 15, 2013

If you like cats, you'll enjoy watching these two felines "sharing" their dinner: http://uvideo100.com/bowl.html

I like cats a lot more than politics. Apparently they share. But I don't think they are compromising all that much, to think about it.

January 15, 2013

From our good friends in Wichita comes this suggestion of how to cook a turkey dinner. Something to keep in mind: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=niegc7QcilM Now, isn't that hilarious?

January 14, 2013

I can remember sitting around the radio when I was a kid -- kind of like we sit around the TV nowadays - to listen to the Bob Hope Show. What fun. I understand from listening to interviews with him that he also wrote his own material.

Got the following snippets from cousin Mark. So for those of you who are too young to remember the Bob Hope Shop, here are some funny bits from this wonderful comedian who passed on a number of years ago:

For those of you too young to remember Bob Hope, ask your Grandparents..
And thanks for the memories. WHAT A WONDERFUL E-MAIL.




I HOPE THIS WILL PUT A SMILE ON YOUR FACE AND IN YOUR HEART.

Tribute to a man who DID make a difference.




ON TURNING 70
'I still chase women, but only
downhill'.

ON TURNING 80
'That's the time of your life when even your birthday suit needs pressing.'

ON TURNING 90
'You know you're getting old when the candles cost more than the cake.'

ON TURNING 100
'I don't feel old. In fact, I don't feel
anything until noon. Then it's time for my nap.'

ON GIVING UP HIS EARLY CAREER, BOXING
'I ruined my hands in the ring. The referee kept stepping on them.'

ON NEVER WINNING AN OSCAR
'Welcome to the Academy Awards or, as it's called at my home, 'Passover'.

ON GOLF
'Golf is my profession. Show business is just to pay the green fees.'

ON PRESIDENTS
'I have performed for 12 presidents and entertained only six.'

ON WHY HE CHOSE SHOWBIZ FOR HIS CAREER


'When I was born, the doctor said to my mother,
Congratulations, you have an eight pound ham.



ON RECEIVING THE CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL
'I feel very humble, but I think I have the strength of character to fight it.'

ON HIS FAMILY'S EARLY POVERTY
'Four of us slept in the one bed. When it got cold, mother threw on another brother.'

ON HIS SIX BROTHERS
'That's how I learned to dance. Waiting for the bathroom.'

ON HIS EARLY FAILURES
'I would not have had anything to eat if it wasn't for the
stuff the audience threw at me.'

ON GOING TO HEAVEN
'I've done benefits for ALL religions. I'd hate to blow the hereafter on a
technicality.'


January 14, 2013

Here is a link to a video about interment about the USS Arizona that is carried out even in the present time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgE2KiPd3xg&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Quint and I the opportunity to go aboard the Arizona when we went to Hawaii on the occasion of our 25th anniversary. It is, even after all these years, a moving experience. And a reverent one, just knowing that there were sailors still entomed beneath us.

January 13, 2013

Watch this clip of a golden lab trying to very gently interact with a young boy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA8VJh0UJtg

I'm fortunate to have had a golden lab when I was much younger. They're the gentlest dogs on the planet -- in my view. Dogs are amazing -- as you can see when this video shows a dog going onto a busy highway to rescue another dog that has been run over: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=_nkadPBEKFk&NR=1 Amazing. And the injured dog lived! That's the best part.

The link to this video shows an incredible affection from a cat trying to revive a cat friend: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=3g-JcebQyyI&NR=1

These compilation videos are always interesting. I personally think everyone should take a Physics class in high school just to learn about forces of nature and what works and doesn't work. And apparently a shooting course too so you can know what to expect in a recoil. Or at least to hold onto the rifle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gng3sPiJdzA

But then, it's nice when everything works out all right too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=yKWoPlL2B8I

I guess we can talk about doctors and medicine in the new year. These funny vignettes come from my cousin Mark who is always funny!

MY NEW PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN Love this Doctor!   

Q: Doctor, I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life.  Is this true?
A: Heart only good for so many beats, and that it... Don't waste on exercise. 
Everything wear out eventually.  Speeding up heart not make you live longer;

it like saying you extend life of car by driving faster.  Want to live longer? 
Take nap.  

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?   
A:  Oh no.  Wine made from fruit.  Brandy distilled wine, that mean they take
water out of fruity bit so you get even more of goodness that way.  Beer also made
of grain.  Bottom up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have body and you have fat, your ratio one to one.  If you have two
body, your ratio two to one.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can't think of single one, sorry.  My philosophy: No pain...good!  
   
Q:  Aren't fried foods bad for you?   
A:  YOU NOT LISTENING!  Food fried in vegetable oil.  How getting more vegetable
be bad?

Q :  Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A:  Oh no!  When you exercise muscle, it get bigger.  You should only be doing
sit-up if you want bigger stomach. 

Q:  Is chocolate bad for me? 
A:  You crazy?!?  HEL-LO-O!!  Cocoa bean!  Another vegetable!  It best
feel-good food around!

Q:  Is swimming good for your figure? 
A:  If swimming good for figure, explain whale to me.

Q:  Is getting in shape important for my lifestyle? 
A:  Hey!  'Round' is shape!

Well... I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food
and diets.

And  remember:  
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in
an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay
in one hand -

chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming
"WOO-HOO, what a ride!!"   
   
AND.....

For  those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and
health.  It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional
studies.   

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than
Americans.

4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than
Americans... 

5. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer
fewer heart attacks than Americans.

 
CONCLUSION:  Eat and drink what you like.   Speaking English is

apparently what kills you.

Quint's cardiologist has a food philosophy that I like. He says we don't have to endure all that gravel-tasting food. Like that guy1

January 9, 2012

Today would have been my brother's 68th birthday. RIP, Al. Hope you were finally able to quit smoking wherever you are up there.

Under the general heading of "Are you kidding me?" is an activity called "zorbing." Not sure where that word came from, but a zorb is a big inflatable ball.

Well, these two Russians decided to get inside this inflatable, which is what youdo with a zorb, and roll it down a ski slope.

It did not end well. In fact, one of the zorbas was killed when the zorb rolled off a cliff, instead of sticking with the path it was "supposed" to take.

Here's the linkhttp:// www.foxnews.com/world/2013/01/09/ride-down-ski-slope-in-giant-inflatable-ball-turns-deadly-in-russia/?test=latestnews 

Not serious like the antics of zorbing, but here's reactions from fast food drive-up window people who try to serve an order to a car that doesn't have a driver in it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVrJ8DxECbg Reactions are really interesting.

January 8, 2013

Eons ago when I was young and dirt was just a technological dream, I took a Psychology of Advertising course. How attitudes of the public are shaped by advertising was a new thought. How advertising reflects the social mores of a culture was also embedded in there somewhere. So I found these ads -- supposed to be the funniest ads of last year. Enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7_LfUeSWWE

What do the ads say to you? Some of interesting, others downright funny. Ads have come a long way since the early days of television when it was all about a catchy jingle and a kind of in-your-face message. Nowadays, ads are more subtle and a whole lot funnier. And now with the ability to lip sync babies talking, and other computer gyrations, we get some pretty comical antics. Babies and animals still rack up the best sales.

This link takes you to "Top Tracks of Enya." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0NoHN1TU5I&list=AL94UKMTqg-9CxvLgtPVLEHEK_wTvvFbqd Lots of beautiful graphics. Enjoy your respite.

Didn't get enough commercials in the Super Bowl? This link takes you to a big collection. Funnnnnny! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cidAbexlHTE


 

January 7, 2013

Oh the curse of unintended consequences! Take the electric cars, for instances. Notice how quiet they are. Peace, aren't they?

Apparently there are lots of problems where pedestrians are concerned. So much so that highway safety people have now developed a list of sounds that will have to be engineered into the oncoming electric car so that you will know they're around. You can listen to these sounds just so you will recognize there's a car nearby when you step off into the pedestrian walkway at the intersection. Here's the link: http://www.nhtsa.gov/SampleSounds

January 6, 2013

Today is the Feast of Epiphany Sunday. It's the day that Christians celebrate the Magi who came to see the Baby Jesus. They brought expensive gifts which certainly came in handy when Joseph had to take his new family into Egypt for safekeeping because that mean old King Herod was looking for all the first-borns to be killed. Someone had told Herod that a new king of the Jews had been born and Herod, being the paranoid type, couldn't handle that kind of rivalry. So, he'd already killed his wife and his father-in-law and his mother-in-law and now was going to launch a genocide of innocent little babies.

At church we do our undecorating of Christmas trees and adornments after our Epiphany celebration. And even though it's called the Feast of Epiphany, we didn't have anything to eat. Not even one little cookie. Seems like this would be a good time to have one of those yummy Lutheran potlucks. Instead, we just put everything away for another year. Pretty much the entire congregation stays after church and gets that job done. We're done in less than an hour because just about everybody pitches in. Many hands make light work.

I have a link to a hilarious juggler. Michael Davis at the Ford Theater is one of those people I should know about. But I don't. He's really funny though. Loved the way he introduced his act -- juggling water. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6mbW-jMtrY&feature=player_detailpage

Here he is in one of his Johnny Carson routines: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq0YjR11bx8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2w-ZbCp6uM -- again. He's too funny.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Booteei-k0 is another link to Michael Davis.

Everybody needs a good laugh. At least once a day. Did you know that you change your body's chemistry when you laugh out loud? It's good for you.



January 3, 2012 pt. 2

Ever wonder why God invented machetes? Watch this video of a cottonmouth eating a rattlesnake and you might come close. The snakes are big too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ2l4owxC7s

January 3, 2012

If I live to be as old as Methuselah, I will not be able to make all the "must have" recipes that I pull out of newspapers and magazines. So, since it's the New Year and I only allow myself one new resolution for the year, I am going to get out all the recipes that I thought we couldn't live without and decide which ones are all that glorious.

It's my "Do Something Terminal" technique. And it's foolproof. Here's how it works: for 15 min tackle any job that needs doing. But for only 15 minutes. By doing something terminal, I mean I will either throw the recipe away, or clip it to my grocery list for next week or toss it.

By limiting myself to 15 minutes, I assure myself that I won't get tired of the task. I mean, we can do just about anything for 15 minutes, can't we?

I do that with my desk too. And house cleaning which is my most unfavorite chore.

I know it sounds like I have the attention span of a snail, but I have to concentrate on what works for me as I go through life. Besides, I suspect that if I were to tackle that entire stack of recipes, it would probably take me months and months and months. And not having that much free time in any given morning is why this task got so big in the first place. I could change my own rule, though, and say that if I really want the recipe that bad but don't want to cook the dish next week, I'll copy it onto a 3x5 card and put the card in a little file box that's just for that purpose. Might only get a couple of recipes off the pile in 15 minutes, but the pile of recipeswill  get shorter anyway.

In the United States, this is the day that the U.S. Congress gets sworn in, including 90 freshman reps. It will be the 113th Congress for the United States. Might just watch. There's been fireworks threatened to unseat the Speaker of the House. Not sure if a "palace coup" will work. It was in 1923 that was the last time this happened. Only 17 people have to withhold votes for the Speaker to be unseated. The Republican party is not as conservative as it used to be, and that's what the fuss is all about. I think. Then there's all that pork in the disaster aid package that has been delayed. A vote on a $9 billion part of the aid package will come to the floor on Friday. It's sure to get a yes vote. The other $59 billion in aid will come later. It includes a lot of stuff like $336 million for Amtrak, a couple of million to do something to a room at the Smithsonian. Supposedly all these items have to do with disasters of some sort of other, even the fisheries in Alaska.

I think maybe -- and I could probably get outshouted on this -- but just maybe the House ought to just do one bill for one item. They ought to figure out exactly how much disaster aid the Hurricane Sandy victims need and that's the extent of the bill. Nah. That would never work. That would mean the congressionals would have to work all day, every work day. They might even have to come in at 9 am and work til 4 pm. Instead, bills seem to have all become giant bills that covers everything from soup to nuts.

But don't get me started on politics. What's going on in Washington, D.C. right now is pretty mean-spirited. Same could be said of state capitols. I think it has more to do with human dynamics. Seems like whenever you get more than 3 or 4 or 5 people together, the game of King of the Mountain becomes the name of the game.

Which reminds me of an excellent book of human dynamics -- for those who might be interested. It's called Games People Play. Not sure if it's even in print at this point. A used book store, or maybe even Amazon, might have copies.

A gameis defined as a set of transactions. In other words, if I do this, what can I expect you to do? Then, when you do that, what's my next step going to be?

This is a fascinating book and it's one that i read in my undergrad years when I was taking a psychology course called Transactional Analysis. The book called Games People Play is a lot more readable and enjoyable that a psychology course textbook though. There's also a book called Games Alcoholics Play. And Games Grandparents Play (I think).

If I had the extra  time, I would like to write a book called Games Abusive Bullies Play. Since I did my masters research in domestic violence, I think such a book would be helpful for both victims and abusers to get some good tools for their emotional toolbox.

January 1, 2013

We stayed up all the way 'til 10 last night. Figured it was 2013 somewhere in the world so we went to bed.

Fortunately we didn't get any snow but it's cold. Enough of this winter already. Now I'm starting my countdown to Groundhog's Day, that great little harbinger of spring.

Why the big fuss about Groundhog's Day? When I was a little girl -- oh, about 4th grade -- we used to get coloring book pages to celebrate Groundhogs Day. All of us thought it was just wonderful.

It has been many years since I was nine years old, but it dawned on me when I got into high school that the Groundhog was not all that great to color. After all, he's just a rat. And I had to use up my brown color crayons too fast. Blacks too. Crayola boxes didn't have various shades of brown in those little boxes. So after I got the groundhogs colored in, there wasn't a whole lot of brown left over for tree trunks and such.

Oh, the trials and tribulations of a 4th grader.

Maybe that's why I trekked on down to the library in the middle of Paducah and got a job putting books away.

On another subject, Quint and I are enthusiastic fans of Tom Sellek so we are enjoying his new series, Blue Bloods. He plays a police commissioner in New York City and his oldest son is a homicide detective. His younger son went to Harvard and Tom thought for sure he was going to get out of the "family business." But not so. He came back home and signed up for the police academy. Oh, and Tom is a widower. Not sure how his late wife Mary died. He also lives with his father who is a retired police commissioner. And Tom lost a son in the line of duty. He was trying to infiltrate a gang of some sort. Tom's daughter is a District Attorney and her daughter wants to be a police officer too. Just like her beloved grandpa.

Good story. And it's one of the reasons we really enjoy our membership in Netflix.

December 31, 2012

This is a funny piece of humor from my dear friend Shirley who's out there in Arizona until she returns with the snow birds in the spring.
Subject: Protestant humor

Ole is the pastor of the local Norwegian Lutheran Church and Pastor Sven is the minister of the Swedish Covenant Church across the road. 
>   
One day they are seen pounding a sign into the ground, which said:  
>  
>DA END ISS NEAR!  TURN YERSELF AROUNT NOW  BAFOR IT ISS TOO LATE! 
>
  As a car speeds past them, the driver leans out his window and yells, "Leave people
>
>  alone, you Skandihoovian religious nuts!"  
>   
From the curve they heard screeching tires and a big splash.  
>   
Shakin' his head, Rev. Ole says, "Dat's da terd one dis mornin'." 
>   >
Pastor Sven agrees, then asks, "Do ya tink maybe da sign should yust say, 'Bridge Out?'" 
>
>
Thank you, Shirley, I'm still laughing.


Happy New Year to all! Won't be writing 2012 much longer. If you're still writing checks, you might want to open your checkbook and "pre-date" a half dozen or so checks to 2013. Several years ago, I forgot to use the new year's date and the check was returned as "stale dated." I had to go to the bank and change the date and initial my change.

We are supposed to be having a winter storm watch again here in middle earth/Illinois. It's 35.8 F now. Looking at the radar on the weather page, it looks pretty bad. There's a huge blue snowdrift, then a band of pink weather -- icy stuff -- then green green. It's actually supposed to be raining here now but I guess we're in the 40% that's okay since there's only a 60% chance of precip.

Not sure if the roads are okay to get to the church where I'm supposed to spend the afternoon. When I left on Friday, I watched a pick-em-up-truck lose control on the ice road about a mile ahead of me. Oh brother. He wrestled with his truck on the icy skating rink that was the road and finally got straightened out again so I didn't have to do anything like change steering or speed or anything. Just watch him and pray for him to recover before I got down there. He did and all was well. Thanks to no one but God who continues to watch over me.

Quint did a really good job of getting the snow off the driveway and sidewalks. He now uses the leaf blower and it works like a charm. And is much faster too.

Prayers for your safety no matter where in this world you may be.

And keep your celebrations this evening down to a slow roar and don't get inebriated. We're not going anywhere. Much prefer to do our celebrating safely at home.

God bless!

Before I leave this year behind me in the dust, I have to tell you about an experience I had with a couple of people in the last few months with some women who tried to bully me. Yes, even when you get up in years, as I am, and because I try to always be a nice, friendly person, there are still people who perceive that as an attitude of weakness and try to get at some imagined underbelly of vulnerability.

It happened in, of all places, a church meeting. Big surprise, right?

Not for me. I've been around church groups for years and years and years and I know that the devil works the hardest when he crosses the threshold of a church group. So if you think that bullying is something that just happens on a playground and involves just children, think again. Bullying happens whenever there is a person who tries to even up a power game with someone who is perceived as vulnerable.

It happens when an abusive person tries to make a victim out of someone else. The problem is, in order to be a victim, you have to give the abuser permission to pick on you. 

There's nothing she can do to me that God and I can't handle.

What I will do is continue to pray for these individuals. What I know as a mental health counselor is that bullies are insecure people who are trying to gain some balance of power within their psyche. Their imbalance of power has its roots in childhood when they were overpowered by someone who made them a victim. 

An act of love and compassion levels the playing field. We are, after all, children of the same heavenly Father. As such, each of us is a child of God and we share a common communion when we interact with one another and with each and every other child of God.

But when we mistreat another child of God with whom we are supposed to have communion, then we have mistreated the very God who shares an inheritance with us because He adopted us into His family.

God levels the playing field. Bullies don't.

December 25, 2012

Quint and I are hoping that each and every one of you are having a beautiful Christmas.

And in keeping with the season of joy -- bringing joy to others, here's a link to the Christmas Drop Operation of the US Air Force as they deliver a lot of joy to the folks in remote villages in Micronesia. Good job, Santas! http://airman.dodlive.mil/2012/12/christmas-drop/ I had no idea that this was being done in places like Micronesia. I just love the little hut with a "room addition" on it. And the little girl wearing flip flops that would fit someone three times her size. but just try to take them away from her.

Another link is a message about life. Love life. Enjoy life. Share life with those you love. This is a "public service message" that was designed and developed by the man who's playing the dad in the "commercial." It brings a tear to my eye to watch it because life is so precious and something not to squandered by foolishly not wearing a seat belt. http://www.youtube.com/embed/h-8PBx7isoM

If you've ever had any doubts that animals jump around just to have fun, this video will dispel that rumor: http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/b4_EdJ-XkUA?rel=0 These little guys look like they have springs in their feet, don't they?

And so at Christmas, all around the world, we think of joy and life. Those gifts were given to each of us by someone who loves us dearly. His greatest gift is the gift of salvation.

Don't squander a minute of your life without Jesus Christ and the love of His Heavenly Father in your heart.

We enjoyed an ongoing Christmas tradition at church this morning. All the members who are present join each other in the altar area and sing Whose Child Is This? We are given the words to the song. I mean, who remembers all three verses? The only person not up there is our faithful organist, Joan Eirhart. We all manage to get ourselves shoe-horned into the altar area and are standing very close together and sing our little hearts out. It's a wonderfully close feeling to be there with our fellow Christian friends.

I cooked a ham for Quint's Christmas dinner. He made me promise when we got married that I'd never put a dead bird on his plate. It's an old childhood memory of pouring boiling hot water onto a hen I think it was. The smell was gaggy, he says. So there's a lot of other things to eat if he doesn't like fowl. And I treat myself to turkey and dressing, or duck, or some other favorite chicken dinner whenever we go out to eat. Works out just fine. But the ham today was a hickory smoked ham from Kentucky that was out of this world.

There will be plenty left over for ham and eggs, and of course there will be plenty for our New Years feast which, also a southern tradition, is to have Black Eyed Peas on New Years. The legend is that if you start out the year with a humble meal, your new year will go well for you. I actually believe that all our gifts are from God's gracious providence, but I cook the peas anyway. And it's always good to be humble too.

God bless you all,
Quint and Jane

December 24, 2012

With all the fun I was having yesterday skipping my way through videos, I neglected to put a link to the original Little Drummer Boy by the Harry Simione Chorus. So if you're a Little Drummer fan enjoy. But first, here's the toned down Mannheim Steamroller's version of the drummer boy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsrgFaRQ6h0.

And back to the Harry Simeone Chorus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zfk5nOnDQuI Enjoy to your little heart's content. It's as beautiful as it ever was.

If you enjoy Neil Diamond, as we do, here's his rendition: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-EvztpO17A

This is a link to the recording from the Johnny Cash Show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yYHN9pVohc


December 23, 2012

Today was Lessons and Carols at church this morning. It's a special service that we've enjoyed every year. Christmas Story is read from the Bible and we head all our favorite Christmas Hymns sung by some very talented people in our congregation -- even sing some carols ourselves.

I have a beautiful song and one of my favorite Christmas carols sung by a 7 year old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhcZ6b2FSsk She is awesome!

Another beautiful song by a 7 year old -- Rhema Marvanne -- singing Hallelujah. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-fgJbrbFIg 

Mary, Did You Know?
from Big Apple Futon reminds us of who Jesus is and why He came to earth in the first place: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiaZYZor6vI

He Came is a little more than a minute and a half that tells the Christmas story in words and music from Thrve Media. Beautifully done! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u65m__-LLfs&NR=1&feature=endscreen

This isn't our church, but I just love to watch 2 and 3-year olds presenting the Christmas Pageant. One little boy keeps breaking loose and going off script to run over to his daddy -- no matter how many times he's brought back to the fold. And Mary takes off with the Baby Jesus a couple of times. It's absolutely precious. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npCP9jCKOVk Brings a little humor to the day, don't you think?

Have you ever been in a food court in a shopping mall and had a "flash mob" start singing? Neither have I but just watch this! The Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah. Wouldn't that be a treat beyond your wildest dreams? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE I'll bet my last ten dollars that this is not an amateur choir.

This has nothing to do with Christmas but the Cumberland Oratio surrounded a soldier on Father's Day and sang America. He was just walking through the mall, but what a wonderful tribute to a special army guy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jJyq69TWug

And from Antwerp, we can see how they do flash mobs in Belgium: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQLCZOG202k

Another flash mob dancing up a storm in Singapore: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6-fHQZU9vk

Coming back to Christmas, here's Kenny Rogers and Wynona Judd singing Mary, Did You Know? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xywbWxF4pZM

A snare drum ensemble presents Little Drummer Boy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sKmHiGOv70 It's totally awesome!





December 22, 2012

With a sense of humor, I watch the annual Christmas Goat in the little town of Gavle, Sweden. Every year since 1966, the Swedes in the little town of Galve have built this really humongous goat. Even put a fence around it to discourage the favorite activity of people in the area -- that of burning the goat down. It's been an ongoing tradition to see if anyone can burn the goat down. Some fear that if the Christmas goat isn't burned down, then all the Christmas presents will go to Finland. This year we have a video of the goat burning down

Watch this:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryF6_89BYJE You'll probably have to do a cut and paste of this link to get the link to open. The goat is very, very big!
There - now doesn't that sound like Merry Christmas to you? Merry Christmas to all our Scandinavian friends this fine bright sunny day here in Middle Illinois.

Hint: Maybe you could build a bigger fence. Think that might work? Probably not. The pyromaniac would just bring a taller ladder. I do think the person who shot the goat with a flaming arrow was a bit inventive.


Oh, this is so funny! At least I think so. Thanks Mark for sending:

It was Saturday morning as Jake, an avid hunter, woke up raring to go bag the first
deer of the season.

He walks down to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee, and to his surprise he finds
his wife, Alice, sitting there, fully dressed in camouflage.

Jake asks her, "What are you up to?"

Alice smiles, "I'm going hunting with you!"

Jake, though he had many reservations about this, reluctantly decides to take her
along.

Three hours later they arrive at a game preserve just outside of San Marcos, Texas.

Jake sets his lovely wife safely up in the tree stand and tells her, "If you see a
deer, take careful aim on it and I'll come running back as soon as I hear the shot."

Jake walks away with a smile on his face knowing that Alice couldn't bag an elephant
- much less a deer.

Not 10 minutes pass when he is startled as he hears an array of gunshots.

Quickly, Jake starts running back. As Jake gets closer to her stand, he hears Alice
screaming, get the #$%^ away from my deer!"

Confused and frightened, Jake races faster towards his screaming wife.

And again he hears her yell, "Get the #$%^ away from my deer!" \ followed by another
volley of gunfire!

Now within sight of where he had left his wife, Jake is
surprised to see a Texas game warden with his hands high in the air. The game
warden, obviously distraught, yelled, "Okay, lady! You can have your #$%^ deer, just
let me get my saddle off it!" 


Oh, man, what a trooper! Bob Welsh. Great videohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxjZB5S_g7s&feature=youtu.be

All police officers and troopers have stories to tell, and Trooper Bob is no exception. So heartwarming. The world is a better place because people like Trooper Bob are in it.


And apparently, watching news bloopers are everybody's favorite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KThBCn_xJOY&NR=1&feature=endscreen
Some are incredibly hilarious!


In a tug of war between a cat and a snake, which one do you think would win? http://world.plidd.com/battle-between-cat-and-snake/ -- This cat looks a lot like daughter Teri and her husband Rick's Maine Coon -- Rocky Lee. Rockly Lee is the most ferocious cat ever to draw breath. When Rick and Teri go out for a walk and leave Rocky at home, he somehow gets out of the house and follows them down the street. They know he's behind them and when they turn to look, he darts behind a little tree -- sideways -- with much of him sticking out on either side of the tree. Then when they turn to continue their walk, he stealthily sneaks back into his walk. It's so funny to watch Rocky. I could swear that he's the cat in the above video.



 

December 19, 2012

It always seems like Christmas gets here especially fast when there are only three Advent services. Today was the last one. This time next week, Christmas 2012 will be just a memory. We put our tree up this year. Didn't last year or the year before. We just didn't have the energy in the aftermath of chemo for both of us followed by radiation for me. We're well on the mend now and in remission from all that stuff. We thank God every day for the miracle of modern oncology and so glad that we have an oncology center here in town. I met a lot of people who drove 70 to 90 miles just to come for radiation every day. The "session" only lasted about 15 minutes so it was quite a sacrifice for them. We thanked God that the oncology center was only 3 minutes from our door.

I found this really exciting video this evening. It's a guy going down a mountain on I have no idea what. It looks like it could be a little skateboard type of car that fits on a rail of some sort. It would be one thrill of a ride to actually be on it, but it's still awesome going with the rider from his helmet camera: http://uvideo100.com/coaster.html Prepare to be amazed!

I found this hilarious Snowman on a sidewalk scaring people as they walk by: http://uvideo100.com/snowman.html Kindly note that people remembered who God is and who Jesus is. The reactions of the passersby is really funny.



December 18, 2012

People take risks unnecessarily. Then they expect to be rescued. Here's a good example of a helicopter pilot making a rescue on top of a rock pillar. http://uvideo100.com/rescue.html

There are so many things that could have gone wrong with that rescue. Side winds. Thermal updrafts that were hampering the pilot's efforts to set the helicopter down, etc. etc. etc.

Do you think hikers have a right to expect someone else to put his/her life at risk to make these kinds of rescues? Bravo to the pilot but I hope the Search and Rescue Department of the Utah State Troopers charged a gadzillion dollars to the hikers who went up there to play on a rock top that day.

Did you ever wonder how those trains get through heavy snowfall in the northern climes? Well, here's a train clearing the tracks of that white stuff: http://uvideo100.com/train.html Amazing! Absolutely amazing. The plow is taller than the train.

Okay, when it's really really windy out there on the highways, slow down. Take a look at this truck trying to drive through some high winds and look at the trees on the side of the road. They don't look like they're blowing all that much, do they? I know when it's a little breezy on our trips, Quint and I try to guess what the wind speed is. Not that we know for sure, but it increases our mindfulness. Those big rigs are like driving a billboard, wouldn't you say? http://uvideo100.com/wind.html I was wondering what the second truck was going to do since it looked like he might try to pass the first truck. But prudence won out on that one.

What do you think one tiny little drop of snake venom could do to the blood in your body? Here's the answer if it's a Russell's Viper: http://uvideo100.com/5.html Good grief! But you can see the medical implications for people whose blood won't clot and they just bleed and bleed until they run out of blood!



December 17, 2012

This is an unbelievable video! It's supposed to be the largest calving ever of an iceberg. The actual event lasted 75 minutes. http://uvideo100.com/iceberg.html

Reminds me of how very tiny we are as human beings and how absolutely magnamimous God is. You do believe that He can move mountains, don't you?

And you can tell I'm kind of getting used to the idea that winter is coming and I'm going to have to learn to drive on ice and snow all over again: http://uvideo100.com/winter.html

But my favorite is this little guy who is 6 years old and autistic, playing the piano like no other! http://uvideo100.com/autistic.html

December 16, 2012

It's no secret that I brake for children - especially children who overcome all sorts of odds to do something wonderful in their lives.

You are just not going to believe what children who live in a slum in Paraguay do with some of the trash that they find. They make musical instruments! And play them very well too. Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXynrsrTKbI

They call themselves the fillharmonic.

On another note, prayers continue for the children and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, and the families and friends who loved them dearly.

It's warmed up here in Central Illinois for a few days at least. It's now 53 degrees. A bit unseasonal for mid-December but I'm glad. After the longest day of the year, which is December 21, the countdown for me begins for Groundhogs Day, which is the first day of Spring in my heart. I'm told that this is the end of the Mayan calendar and there's this big debate about it possibly being the end of the world. But for crying out loud, it's the end of the Mayan calendar. They didn't make any more calendars because they were getting killed off by the Conquistadors and the Aztecs. So far, the Aztecs haven't figured out how to make a Mayan long count calendar yet. But then, Julius Caesar also made a calendar didn't he? So what's all the bother about?

If the world ends on December 21, I guess I won't have to worry about Groundhog's Day because I'll be in heaven with Jesus. No need for a calendar then, because it will be living in eternity.



 

December 15, 2012

Oh geez, you may wonder where in the world I've been for the past couple of weeks.

And I have to tell you that I don't remember having readers clock on from Kazakhstan or Croatia of Macau and a long time from Austria. Welcome, welcome!

In the first place, I found a really funny -- absolutely hilarious -- video to a link to the world's worst Christmas decorations. http://reaganiterepublicanresistance.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-very-worst-of-bad-christmas.html

I think my favorite is Santa being naughty. If you are reading this and wondering what Santa could possibly be doing that's naughty, you'll just have to look to find out. It's too funny for words.
At least much
I volunteered to help with a program that's dedicated to mildly handicapped people this morning. It was a Happy Birthday Jesus party. Some of the people were more handicapped than others. But everybody had a good time and ate a lot of cookies, drank a lot of punch and watched a nativity skit put on by some high functioning members of the "school." It was wonderful. And I'm glad to see these kinds of programs being successfully offered up through church congregations.

Quint is busy being my favorite Christmas elf making the world's best chocolate fudge for our friends and loved ones. And I have figured out a recipe for a hot sauce that is to die for. I like a lot of heat on my food and finally made one up that I dearly love. It's first ingredient is vinegar, followed by tomato ketsup. The rest is in the spices. Good stuff. At least, much to my liking.

And juxtoposed to that story of the horrible massacre in Connecticut was another story about 22 children stabbed in China. Funny, though, no one is trying to outlaw knives in China, where we're trying to outlaw guns again in the U.S. How about this? It's just plain sinful to kill innocents no matter what your weapon is.

 

November 28, 2012

Hard to believe that 2012 is rapidly drawing to a close. And then there goes that first month of the year when I really have to consciously write 2013.

One year I pre-dated the year on about 15 checks just to be sure. The bank we had actually returned checks that had the previous year on it as "stale dated." We don't write that many checks anymore but it's still handy to have the year predated on the handwritten checks just to be sure.

I have been fiddling around with my favorite barbecue sauce recipe for some time. I've tried to get as close as I can to the Starnes recipe in Paducah, Kentucky. Starnes is one of those places from high school that I remember fondly. And every trip to Paducah to visit friends includes a trip to Starnes for an open pit treat.

The recipe is different from all that stuff you get at the supermarket. In the first place, the main ingredient is vinegar; the second ingredient is tomator ketsup. So I started with 1 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup ketsup. The rest is spices. We like a smoky sauce, so God invented liquid smoke for us. And we also like a lot of heat so in goes the cayenne. Add a pinch or two of onion powder and garlic powder and it's good to go.

It is delicious. And it will tide me over until we get back to Paducah. The recipe above fits nicely in the Starnes 10 oz. container.

November 25, 2012

Wow! Here's a link to an awesome site that shows an animation of the phases of the moon through the year 2013. http://www.universetoday.com/98588/take-5-minutes-to-see-what-the-moon-will-do-during-2013/

I have never seen the moon wobbling on its axis before. In fact, I didn't even know that happened.

OK folks. Here's the recipe for what is supposed to be a Twinkie filling. I'm sure it has some changes to the real deal. Just can't imagine the twinkie filling not being proprietary information. But I will say that it tastes a lot like the real thing.

I made it last night and made sandwich cookies with it. Then I stored the unused part in a glass canning jar. I expected it to be rock solid when we got home from church today but it wasn't. In fact, it was still very spreadable without having to warm up to room temperature at all. And easy? Oh my goodness. You really can't miss with this recipe. This would be a good recipe to frost a cake with and then put coconut on it. Yummy.

Ingredients:

2 tsp very hot water
rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
7 oz. jar of mashmallow cream
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix the salt in with the hot water. Stir really well until the salt is dissolved. Set aside and let it cool to room temperature.

In a mixer bowl, mix marshmallow cream, shortening, powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix well until it's fluffly. Then add the salt mixture and mix it in really good.

That's it.


Awwww - people, people, people! About those PIN numbers. Want to know what the most popular PIN number is -- out of about 3.4 million? Ready for this: 1234. Also in the top ten is 4321. Now that takes a lot of imagination. No wonder people have their goodies stolen from credit cards to debit cards. Wouldn't you think that if there was anything of value in your checking account -- anything at all -- that you could do better than 1234? You probably went all the way through school and couldn't come up with a better PIN number than that, could you? Couldn't you use your grandmother's birthday or something just as easy to remember that a thief or hacker would not be likely to guess?

But then, 1111 is also popular. More popular than 2222, actually.

November 24, 2012

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. We spent turkey day with a kind of adopted family from church and had a wonderful day. The food was delicious and the conversations that went way into the afternoon were also great.

But did you ever wonder what cats might be thankful for? Here's a link from Furball Productions that has some furry clues: http://cheezburger.com/44694273 -- Great music too. Pachelbel's Canon in D.

November 15, 2012

Quint dug up all the canna lily bulbs this afternoon. He dusted them off and stored them in a plastic bag in the basement. They'll get a nice winter's nap. Then I went next door to tell the new neighbor that she needs to dig up the canna lily bulbs that I gave her last summer. They didn't bloom that robustly this summer but I'm just thankful that the drought didn't get them. I did start out the summer watering the outdoor flowers but then decided that the city water supply was more important than flowers. I mean, if our house caught on fire, I sure wouldn't want the fire department to run out of water.

It was in the high 20s today. That's a sure frost. My roses haven't given up though.

I made another batch of three dozen cookies this evening. These were gingerbread cookies. So far, I have 6 dozen cookies of the 70 dozen that I will need for church festivities. I'm hopeful that some of the other women at church will pitch in and help out. We're sending out 24 "care packages" to our college students, military folks from the congregation and shut-ins. That's a lot of cookies.

Tomorrow I'm going to make a chocolate cake cookie recipe and put peanut butter chips in it. That ought to be just dandy. I really like the convenience of using cake mixes to make cookies out of. If you don't have the recipe for using a cake mix and want it, drop me an email at jane@janereinheimer.com and be sure to put "cake cookie recipe" in the subject line so I'll be sure to open your email.

I got a note from Irma in Tulsa. She says she uses the cake mixes all the time too. Heck, I can get an 18-1/2 ounce cake mix at Save-A-Lot or Aldi for about a buck. Hard to beat the convenience too.

I even made a "passable" macaroon with a white cake mix and about 1/4 tsp. of orange extract. Then I kneaded in some coconut before I put the cookies in the oven.

I like to roll the drop cookies up into a little ball. Kind of like making a dough ball. Then the cookies are all nice and round. Cookies with jagged edges don't taste as good, you know.

I have been working on getting a lot of clutter out of my office at home. One of these days I want to delve into another Bible Study I've heard rummaging around in my head. It will be about the Book of Daniel. He's one of my favorite Old Testament guys.

Well, Quint just called me. He's on his way from a Lutheran Brotherhood meeting at church and I promised I'd pour the milk. We drink our milk every night. The tryptophan helps us get to sleep. It's the same chemical that's in turkey, in case you wondered why eating a big Thanksgiving dinner makes you sleepy. Then we go to bed and open up the windows. Good to let fresh air in even if it's chilly. But then, we turn the electric blanket on and let it warm up the bed before we dive in for a good night's sleep. Fortunately Quint and I both enjoy a cool bedroom. It's an important compatibility area. Couples need to think about those little preferences when they're courting.

And that's about it for today.

November 13, 2012

We had a hard freeze this morning. Finally got my rose bush that was blooming its little heart out until yesterday. The roses that are closer to the house and more protected will last a bit longer until it drops down into the low 20s.

Well, after all, it's November. What can I expect here in central Illinois.

Quint is at church this evening. Since he went off the church council last year, he joins the Nominating Committee to finalize a slate of candidates for the election later this month.

When I look at the new countries that have added readers since I last updated the list, I notice that a lot of the countries are my darling niece Karen's favorite places to junket in Europe. So, Karen, Aunt Jane sends you lots of love and I hope you are enjoying yourself and that you and Alex are going to be able to get back to Germany around the Christmas season. Wish Uncle Quint and I could join you, but we're not going anywhere for a while.

We have been going back to the gym though. We used to walk a sassy three miles before cancer bogged us down a couple of year ago. So we started back a couple of months ago. Forget the three miles. That was far too ambitious. I worked my way up to a half mile. No kidding. It took me about three weeks before I could go a full mile on the treadmill. I can go a mile and a half now and still gaining on my old record. Then there were those strength training machines. Our doctor suggested only four that he said would be good for us. The rest would be too strenuous for now.

Exercise is good for us. And we feel so much better coming out of the gym. We're spoiled. Our gym has individual TV sets on each treadmill. How awesome is that? And since Quint and I both are newsies, we get a full dose of the news while we walk.

November 2, 2012

Hurricanes certainly have a way of messing things up! Take a look at this link and see just how the damage went: http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_c3#/video/weather/2012/10/30/sandy-raw-vo-national-guard-aerials.national-guard

Some of you may remember Paul Harvey. I really miss his radio voice, and his astute observations about life and what's going on around us. Here's a link to one example that my good friend Shirley sent me: http://stg.do/9LDc

I found a new vocalist today while I was on my way to looking something else up. His name is Wintley Phipps. Here's a link to him singing It Is Well With My Soul: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1JmN6dsHu0&feature=related

October 31, 2012

Do crashing waves interest you? Here's a short video of Lake Michigan crashing against a sea wall. Wow! http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-868280?hpt=hp_bn1

And today marks the 7th year after my mother's death. Rest in peace, Mom! Miss you.

 

October 25, 2012

Beautiful rendition of The Star Spangled Banner: http://www.starspangledbannerchallenge.com/

Riverdance has always held a fascination for me. First of all, I can't even dream that I'd ever be able to dance like this. And secondly, Michael Flatley has the fastest feet in the world. He grew up on the south side of Chicago, I'm told. Then when he got really good at Irish dancing, he went to Dublin and taught Irish dancing there. Watch this stunning and absolutely amazine finale of Riverdance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8EXDtoGfrs&feature=related

Changing the subject, I have enjoyed my rest for quite some time now.

I mentioned that Quint and I have headed back to the gym for daily workouts. Today I walked 1-1/2 miles. Quint walked 1 mile, then went off to do some strength training. Mind you, I'm only walkng at the rate of 2.1 miles an hour but I'll get back up to the three miles a day that we used to walk when we hoofed our way around a lake in the middle of our condominium complex up north. The gym is fine. I work out on that machine where I have to pull something down, then send it back up. It kind of feels like traction when it stretches me to go back up.

Then I do some rowing. And some other machine where I have to stretch way back. It feels wonderful on my spine.

One other machine is good for the thigh muscles. It has helped tremendously because one of the medications I take really makes my thigh muscles ache to high heaven. I think it's spelled Anasterzole. It inhibits the manufacture of estrogen in my body. And since the breast cancer cells were Estrogen positive, this keeps me from running the risk of the breast cancer returning. But oh the aching muscles. It's getting better with this machine workout and the walking.

Quint's lymphocitic leukemia also continues in remission. He did have surgery this summer, though, for a skin cancer eruption on his face. Hopefully he's done with that.

At least that's our prayer.

And speaking of praying, if you and your partner do not join hands every day and go to the Lord in prayer for all the things you want to talk to Jesus about, it's time you started. For Quint and me, it's a perfect way to start our day. We each have a list of things to pray about and we pray out loud. It's absolutely profound and let me tell you, if you have any doubts whatsoever that God and His Son Jesus answers prayer, you are in for one big surprise. They are here with us, in the same room, listening intently as we pray for all the people we care about, and situations that sometimes nag us -- like interpersonal relationships at work where haughty, insecure people make ridiculous demands on me. Quint and I pray that God will keep a hedge of protection around me and it works. Believe me, it works.

And one of my all-time favorites is Susan Boyle singing I Had a Dream from Les Miserables.

Here's the Celtic Women singing You Raise Me Up. That's sent out to each and every one of you if you think you don't matter anymore. If you think you're going through trials and tribulations all by yourself. Just remember, you're never alone. He is always nearby, wanting you to reach out to touch Him. This life is not for the chicken-hearted, but you need big help too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=md5LL6PwXwY&feature=related

Blessings to all of you. -- Jane

October 11, 2012

There was a spectacular coronal mass ejection (CME) on October 4-5 that I believe I posted a link to. Now we have a sky photo looking down on earth at the northern lights "floating" across Canadian nightscape. Also noted are the little points of light in the United States that are cities peppered here and there. And Lake Michigan is clearly visible, with Chicago hogging lots of photons on its shore. Check it out: http://129.164.179.22/apod/ap121011.html

Thank you, cousin Mark, for the link to an incredible flight over America. Get a chance to look at some of our nation's monuments up close and person from a small plane: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=KcuDdPo0WZk

October 2, 2012

This is an absolutely amazing video of a young women who rescued an 84 year old lady who ended up in the ocean: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=785_1349086723 And the rescue happened with split second timing before the car dropped out of sight!

October 1, 2012

May I be the first person to welcome you to Autumn, if you haven't been welcomed before. And to all our readers down under, that would be a welcome to Spring!

I found this amazing video showing some very talented Spanish flyers harvesting water and flying over a forest fire to dump their big loads of water: http://vimeo.com/48642618

 

September 30, 2012

Here’s the link to the fantastic baseball play where the hit knocked the pitcher’s glove off but he caught the glove and then the ball: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/blue-jays-pitcher-chad-jenkins-catches-ball-glove-002614760--mlb.html

September 17, 2012

Unbelievable photo of a coronal mass ejection (CME) on the sun: http://129.164.179.22/apod/ap120917.html Totally awesome -- and listen to this: our cute little sun is going to be particularly busy for the next couple of years!

September 21, 2012

Quint and I celebrated 34 years of marriage yesterday. After I got home from the Effingham/Shelby Zone Fall Rally for church. We had some 75 people in attendance. Percentage-wise it could have been a lot more, but I am thankful for the ladies and pastors who came to be spiritually uplifted by the fantastic devotions by Pastor Gillet, Pastor Becker and a powerpoint presentation by Pastor Janssen, who was in the hospital. We all need times when we can isolate ourselves fromt he world and go into a retreat of spiritual calm and rejuvenate our faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ. It was a great day that was hosted by the Ladies Aids from St.. John and Grace Lutheran in Dieterich. Officiants at Holy Communion were Pastors Gillet and Fortkamp.

Changing the subject, here is a link to a NASA video that shows some giant eruptions, or explosions, on our sun: http://news.discovery.com/space/solar-dynamic-observatory-nasa-explosion-sun-120905.html

Amazing! I am always awestruck by the raw power of the sun. I don't know how long it takes for the plasmastic outbursts to reach earth but I'll just bet it's sooner than later. They are so ferocious.

September 11, 2012

Never forget what happened on 9/11! Prayers lifted for all who lost their loved ones, and for those who died so suddenly.

Here's a time lapse photograph of the rebuilding of the World Trade Center: http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2012/09/11/Stunning-Video-Time-Lapse-Rebirth-of-World-Trade-Center

Feel like taking a little respite going along I-70 in Utah through the San Rafael Swell? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMHnGzqTIVY&feature=related Oh my, my, my! Beautiful scenery. At one point, we are reminded that this is the longest stretch of interstate that exists without services.

And the Virgin River Gorge along I-15 in Arizona is totally awesome! http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=mCU9iCRxI0g

If you want some vista visuals: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxTUz1j-weE&feature=related I really don't feel comfortable driving in the mountains -- unlike Quint who grew up in Colorado. "Aw, shucks, it's nothing," he'd say. Then when he gets down to sea level, talks about how jittery it was for him. That's when I felt like clobbering him. But didn't.

This is purported to be the most dangerous jeep trail in Telluride, Colorado: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYssaJ7zfkM&feature=related I'll tell you one thing: I wouldn't want to walk down that trail. In the first place, it's not even paved. Just a lot of shifting rocks. And they call that a road? I don't think so.

This one comes under the heading of "There's not enough money in the world ..." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uShVGxXmSFU&feature=related

Goodness gracious -- people do this for fun and excitement. I mean, it's not like they have to deliver medicine or something like the Iditarod to commemorate the run from Anchorage to Nome to re-enact the run made decades ago when children were dying in Nome of typhoid fever and the mushers took off from Anchorage with medicine for them. Oh no. These guys are just having an adventure. Question is, are they testing the torment on themselves or their jeepies? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uShVGxXmSFU&feature=related

And just in case you were thinking they never roll these things over: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0LU1Ho4dsY&feature=related

September 10, 2012

Here's a video of a four year old in Thailand playing the violin. Actually the violinist has to be around 9 or 10 now but this was the first expo of this talent: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3bW9P5Z6sI&feature=related Well done!

Beautiful video of "Somewhere My Love" -- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=FKhVnAgt0EY

This guy goes into his bank to get an increase in his debt limit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Li0no7O9zmE

September 9, 2012

Here's a link to the most watched video of the 9/11 tragedy: http://www.frugalsites.net/911/attack/

Funny music video of Wal-Mart shoppers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YvxNgdFeWqM

Ever heard of a magician of Piff the Magic Dragon? Well, watch this funny man: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kk5xfK0ovrk&feature=related

Here's another one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuhgTgqIuos&feature=related

Piff with bunnies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bCZv2ozQD8&feature=related


September 6, 2012

We got really good news from the surgeon. He took one look at Quint's face and said the cause was using a razor, not an electric one. So off we went to Kohls to buy an electric razor. And sure enough, the inflammation disappeared and what felt like a tumor under the skin was not a malignant growth at all. It was just a bump from the inflammation. Whew!

We've been getting much needed rain in Middle Illinois. Now the grass is growing like crazy and my roses have started blooming again. Beautiful little creatures that they are.

I'm going to share some links to some videos that I find much to my liking. Hope you enjoy them too.

Here are the top ten videos of babies -- hint: laughter is so contagious  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWHpcKXt-qQ 

http://www.angelfire.com/ak2/intelligencerreport/twins.html twins dancing to Dad’s guitar

We love to watch little children - and the younger the better.

August 30, 2012

It looks like another skin cancer is on Quint's face. Fortunately, we have an appointment with the surgeon tomorrow morning that was supposed to be the final post-op checkup. That will most likely change with this new event. Stay tuned and please keep Quint in your prayers.

I did want to share this link with all of you who love to watch children. These are twins who take advantage of the fact that Mom had just emptied out the refrigerator. It looks like she had given it a pretty good cleaning out but first the twins decided to dance in it a little bit: http://www.angelfire.com/ak2/intelligencerreport/twins.html

August 6, 2012

We had some rain. Big deal -- nearly an inch. It was enough to revive the greenery left in the grass in the front yard. Enough for Quint to mow this morning. And the Red Bud that I planted a few years ago as a memorial to my mom when she died is holding up rather nicely. I have been letting the water trickle ever so slightly out of the hose for about a half hour. It was enough to get the little tree through the worst of the 100+ temperatures. Problem is, there's this lush carpet of green grass in a circle underneath the Red Bud. The rest of the yard is just in little patches of green here and there. I think Quint just wanted it all to be the same height.

Hope all of you are surviving the drought. We've heard from the newsies that if the drought continues, there's a strong possibility that we'll lose about 20% of our trees. Don't even want to contemplate that.

We pray that all of you are weathering the drought okay. It's a disaster, for sure, and our hearts go out to you.

Remember that you are responsible to God first. What if you woke up today and the only thing in your life was what you thanked God for yesterday?

Great weather map comes from friends John and Sherre in Wichita: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/zoa/mwmap3.php?map=usa --  All you have to do is put your cursor over one of the dots or crosses on the map and you'll get the weather for that location.

http://www.speedtrap.org/ to find location of speed traps across the United States

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Petrine Letters (adapted from KJV) -- Introduction and Background

I had initially given thought to following the Book of James with the Epistle of Jude, since they are widely viewed as the brothers of Jesus.

However, Jude parallels much of what is written in 2 Peter. Moving from a study of 2 Peter to Jude then makes sense.

But the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke -- known as the Synoptic Gospels -- were written in the late 50s and early 60s. John is not included in the Synoptic Gospels.

After the Synoptic Gospels were written, there is the Gospel of John, the three letters of John, then the Book of Revelation, all written in the late 80s.

As far as the dating of the writing of Peter's letters, I quote from my Concordia Study Bible on page 1904: The book can be satisfactorily dated in the early 60s. It cannot be placed earlier than 60 since it shows familiarity with Paul's Prison Letters (e.g., Colossians and Ephesians, which are to be dated no earlier than y60). Compare 1:1-3 with Eph. 1:1-3; 2:18 with Col. 3:22; 3:1-6 with Eph. 5:22-24. Furthermore, it cannot be dated later than 67/68 since Peter was martyred during Nero's reign.

Some legends have it that Peter had a daughter. She is sometimes identified with the virgin martyr Petronilla. And if we look a 1 Corinthians 9:5, we realize that Cephas (Peter) traveled with his wife: Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas?

And then Paul asks the Corinthians: Or is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living?

Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Peter

Some scholars believe that Peter died on October 13, 64 AD. It is traditionally believed that the Roman authorities sentenced him to death by crucifixion. According to a tradition recorded or perhaps initiated in the apocryphal Acts of Peter, he was crucified head down. Tradition also located his burial place where the Basilica of Saint Peter was later built, directly beneath the Basicilica's high alter. (ibid)

Peter was born in Bethsaida (John 1:44). His father's name is given as "Jonah" (John 1:42, Matthew 16:17), although some manuscripts of John give his father's name as "John." The synoptic gospels all recount how Peter's mother-in-law was healed by Jesus at their home in Capernaum (Matthew 8:14-17; Mark 1:29-31; Luke 4:38) which, coupled with 1 Corinthians 9:5, implies that Peter was married. (ibid)

According to the synoptic gospels, before becoming a disciple of Jesus, Simon (that is, Peter whose name was in fact originally Simon) was a fisherman along with his brother Andrew.

Matthew and Mark report that while fishing in the Lake of Gennesaret, Simon and his brother Andrew were called by Jesus to be his followers, with the words, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:18-19; Mark 1:16-17).

In Luke's account Simon is the owner of a boat that Jesus uses to preach to the multitudes where were pressing on him at the shore of Lake Gennesaret (Luke 5:3).

Jesus then amazes Simon and his companions, James and John (Andrew is not mentioned) by telling them to lower their nets, whereupon they catch a huge number of fish. Immediately after this, they follow him (Luke 5:4-11). (ibid)

And so we will begin our study of Peter's letters tomorrow.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

James 5:1-20 (adapted from KJV)

And so we come to the final chapter of James' book. He has shared many an exhortation about how to live in a family, in a church group, in a community.

The Book of James is about relationships.

It's about remembering who we are and who we are supposed to serve and we are to maintain civility and humility in our dealings with others. Arrogance has no place in the heart of the redeemed person.

Early in this chapter, James goes after the rich man. But not just any rich man. After all, God is not opposed to a man being wealthy. Look at how he blessed King Solomon -- the wealthiest of all men. And look how he recovered the riches of Job and his tribulations.

No, it's not wealth that despairs God. It's what wealth does to greedy, arrogant men. Wealth then becomes the mirror of the devil and God does not like that one bit.

In verses 1-2, James say: Go now, rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten." Then he goes on to say that the rich man's gold and silver are tarnished.

But can precious metals tarnish? Especially gold? Must have been fake. Just like the men who hoarded the gold for later days. James says in verse 9 that the judge is standing at the door.

That carries a strong warning to all the arrogant people who were making money off the labors of others.

Interesting note in verse 10 to remember what the prophets had to say when they talked about similar self-indulgent men who paid a stiff penalty for the pride.

For instance, in Isaiah 13:11-13 -- I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless. I will make people more rare than fine gold, and mankind than the gold of Ophir. Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place, at the wrath of the Lord of hosts in the day of his fierce anger.

And in Zephaniah 2:8-11 -- I have heard the taunts of Moab and the revilings of the Ammonites, how they have taunted my people and made boasts against their territory. Therefore, as I live, declares the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Moab shall become like Sodom, and the Ammonites like Gomorrah, a land possessed by nettles and salt pits, and a waste forever. The remnant of my people shall plunder them, and the survivors of my nation shall possess them. This shall be their lot in return for their pride, because they taunted and boasted against the people of the Lord of hosts. The Lord will be awesome against them; for he will garnish all the gods of the earth, and to him shall bow down, each in its place, all the lands of the nations.

In Ezekiel 28:1-10 -- The word of the Lord came to me: "Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, "Thus says the Lord God:

Because your heart is proud, and you have said, 'I am a god, I sit in the seat of the gods, in the heart of the seas,' yet you are but a man, and no god, though you make your heart like the heart of a god -- you are indeed wiser than Daniel; no secret is hidden from you; by your wisdom and your understanding you have made wealth for yourself, and have gathered gold and silver into your treasuries; by your great wisdom in your trade you have increased your wealth, and your heart has become proud in your wealth -- therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you make your heart like the heart of a god, therefore, behold, I will bring foreigners upon you, the most ruthless of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom and defile your splendor. They shall thrust you down in the pit, and you shall die the death of the slain in the heart of the seas. Will you still say, 'I am a god,' in the presence of those who kill you, through you are but a man, and no god, in the hands of those who slay you? You shall die the death of the uncircumcised by the hand of foreigners; for I have spoken, declares the Lord God."

In Amos 2:6-8 -- Thus says the Lord: "For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals -- those who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth and turn aside the way of the afflicted; a man and his father go in to the same girl, so that my holy name is profaned; they lay themselves down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge, and in the house of their God they drink the wine of those who have been fined."

And in Jeremiah 50:31-32 -- Behold, I am against you, O proud one, declares the Lord God of hosts, for your day has come, the time when I will punish you. The proud one shall stumble and fall, with none to raise him up, and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it will devour all that is around him.

I do not know this for certain, but I would imagine that in the temple at Jerusalem, there must have been an extensive library of written material from the prophets that would have been available to a Rabbi such as James.

And in writing these early verses in Chapter 5, he was compelled by the Holy Spirit to reiterate the writings of the early prophets in matters of false pride and arrogance and how the Lord punished those who fell into these traps of the devil.

Oh, for sure, the Lord doesn't run around zapping people who are arrogant and self-indulgent. No. They are given every opportunity to confess their sins and change their ways from evil.

And to those who must endure this arrogance and lies and hypocrisy, James says this in verse 11: Behold, we count them happy which endure. You've heard of the patience of Job and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

It's been said that only God knows what corrective action a person needs to make spiritual changes that will bring that person back to God. So if you are having to endure such things from someone and you wonder why God doesn't do something about it, perhaps it's comforting to know that God is, indeed, watching you and what you are going through and his heart is filled with tender mercy for you.

As long as you act with the heart of a redeemed person and not a vengeful one.

James finishes this chapter and this book with this thought in verses 19-20: If any of you err from the truth, and one converts him, let him know that he who converts the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death and shall hide a multitude of sins.

The sins of the person who wandered away from God will be forgiven by God. And we, as redeemed people, are to continue to pray for those who wander.

Discussion:

What are your lessons learned from the Book of James? Take a moment to review your notes, if you've made them. There's so much richness in James' advice about relationships. But keep in mind, most of all, that these were not homework assignments that James made for a psychology class at Jerusalem University. Oh no. James was a rabbi. He was a leader in the synagogue and was highly thought of.

It was James who received the charity money that Paul collected from the churches in Asia Minor. Paul brought these funds to give to James so that they could be distributed to the poor people who were suffering from a famine that was widespread in the area.

These instructions from James were written down by him and it may well have been his pen that formed the words on paper, but make no mistake about it, the messages are from God above. They are for us today as surely as they were for the redeemed people in James' time.

We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that you would help me when I am proud to remove my foolish pride and remember that all gifts are from you. I thank you for the blessings you have given me that make my life easier and I pray that I will always be willing to share with others. I pray that you will keep me safe from Satan and all that is evil. And I pray that I will always do you work willingly. Amen.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

James 4:1-17 (adapted from KJV)

In the last chapter we see James' warnings against the hazards of a sharp tongue -- a tongue that, if left untamed, could drag us into evil.

In this chapter, James talks about why we don't always get what we want.

So far, James has told us that faith without good works is a dead faith. That does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that good works are going to get us into heaven. James isn't talking about good works having redemptive qualities.

Rather, when we are redeemed people, we don't act the same way as people who are not redeemed. We don't even act the same way as we had behaved before we were redeemed.

And if our faith is genuine, then we are going to show that faith through good works because it is a God-pleasing thing to do.

James asks the question in the first verse of this chapter. That is, how come we fight among ourselves? Where do all these quarrels come from? James wants us to  accept that these battles come from our own desires that are deep inside us. People step on our toes and we lash out at them. Other people hurt our feelings and wound our egos -- and we lash out at them.

Problem is, we're all puffed up. We're filled with how great we are. How pious we are. Even how humble we are. And in our great humility, we become weighted down with the lust of our arrogance. These are deep desires that well up inside us. And just in case others don't notice our humility and piety, we hasten to point out those great qualities that we possess. We're just hoping that others will notice and figure out how great we are. Sound familiar?

James warns us about these desires. They're doing battle within you, he says. (verse 1b)

People covet what other people have. They may covet so much that they'll kill the person who has what they want. Maybe they've prayed for what the other person has. And they didn't get an answer to the prayer because the motive was wrong. The wrong motive blares out from the desire for pleasure.

It's just plain old wrong to pray for something that's just going to be a toy for your own pleasure. Who ever told you that you could pray for such things?

James warns about that and he also warns about getting in too deep with buddies who are of the world. All those cocktail parties at work and chasing around with people you aren't married to will make you a friend of the world. You can't be in those kind of friendships and please God. James says that when you do that, you become an enemy of God (see verse 4).

In verse 5, James asks: Do you think that the scripture says in vain, 'The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?'

Matthew Henry offers this: ...The hope of a resurrection to glory should keep Christians from dishonouring their bodies by fleshly lusts. And if the soul be united to Christ by faith, the whole man is become a member of his spiritual body.... 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 which are his.
http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=54&source=2&seq=i.53.6.3

Further clarification comes my Concordia Study Bible on page 1901: ...God jealously longs for our faithfulness and our love.

James says to draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands and purify your hearts. Then, there's double-mindedness coming up again. James does not care for double-minded people. It's one way or the other and James says if you want God to be with you, then you have to go toward God.

James orders ten commands in verses 7-10 to get rid of sinful pride:

1. Submit yourselves to God
2. Resist the devil
3. Draw near the God
4. Cleanse your hands
5. Purify your hearts
6. Be afflicted
7. Mourn
8. Weep
9. Let your laughter turn to mourning
10. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and he will lift you up.

Matthew Henry says this: Humility preserves peace and order in all Christian churches and societies; pride disturbs them. Where God gives grace to be humble, he will give wisdom, faith and holiness.

To be humble, and subject to our reconciled God, will bring greater comfort to the soul than the gratification of pride and ambition. But it is to be in due time, not in thy fancied time, but God's own wisely appointed time.

...The remedy is to cast our care upon God, and leave every event to his wise and gracious disposal. Firm belief that the Divine will and counsels are right calms the spirit of a man. Truly the godly too often forget this, and fret themselves to no purpose.

Refer all to God's disposal. The golden mines of all spiritual comfort and good are wholly his, and the Spirit itself. Then, will he not furnish what is fit for us if we humbly attend on him and lay the care of providing for us upon his wisdom and love?

The whole design of Satan is to devour and destroy souls. He always is contriving whom he may insnare to eternal ruin. Our duty plainly is to be sober; to govern both the outward and the inward man by the rules of temperance. To be vigilant; suspicious of constant danger from this spiritual enemy, watchful and diligent to prevent his designs. Be steadfast or solid by faith.

A man cannot fight upon a quagmire; there is no standing without firm ground to tread upon; this faith alone furnishes. It lifts the soul to the firm advanced ground of the promises and fixes it there...
http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=68&source=2&seq=i.67.5.2

James warns against slandering and casting judgment on others. He says that there is only one lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy. So who exactly are we to judge anybody? When we judge others then we are speaking evil of the law. And when  we judge the law we are not obeying the law. Instead we are judging the law.

We don't have that kind of power. God issued the laws and it's not our province to sit in judgment of that law.

James likens this to people who say they are going to go off to another city and stay there for a year or so and make a lot of money. James wants to know how you're going to do that when you don't have the slightest idea of what's going to happen to you tomorrow.

He says you're like a vapour -- here for a little while, then poof! The vapour vanishes.

What you ought to be saying, and thinking, is that what's going to happen to you is what God wants to happen to you. So quit bragging about all this control that you think you have over your life. Bragging is evil.

And here's the clincher that ends this chapter: If you know what you're supposed to be doing and you don't do it, then you are sinning. (see verses 13-17)

Discussion:

I sure wish I could be there with you for this discussion. What I'd like to have you talk about is this business of judging others. How is holding onto an opinion different than making a judgment?

We all have opinions about people, places and things. So if you have an opinion about someone, how close are you to making a judgment?

Maybe this will help you out. We make excuses for people we care about. We "cut them some slack." So do you think James is wanting us to care about people and maybe ease up on caustic opinions?

Isn't this entire Book of James about caring and living in relationships with other people?

Keep in mind that the Book of James is the Word of God. These are not James' opinions but God's thoughts coming through James' pen.

We pray: Oh Lord, I pray that you would help me do a better job of living with my fellow man. I am subject to all the human frailties that Satan would love to get ahold of. I pray that you will keep me strong and help me resist Satan and all that is evil. Fill me with your Spirit as I go through my days and help me do your will and build your kingdom. Help me recognize the people that you send to cross my path and help me discern what it is that you would have me do. Amen.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

James 3:1-18 (KJV)

Some professions are held to a higher standard. James starts off this chapter with the admonition that some people shouldn't be teachers. Teachers, he says, are held to a higher standard. Teachers are judged more strictly.

What other professionals can you think of who are held to higher standards? Pastors, for one. Counselors for another. Teachers, certainly. Doctors, you bet. There's not much tolerance for mistakes in these professions.

Bankers, car salesmen, shepherds, ranchers, house painters, lawyers. These professionals are not judged as strictly.

It isn't that their work is less important. Rather, people who work in these professions are not in positions to cause spiritual or physical damage. Even in the penal codes, financial crimes are not considered crimes against persons.

James goes from this opinion that teachers are held to a stricter code to a strong warning for us to get control of our tongue. It's a small part of our body. Doesn't weigh as much as the heart, that's for sure. And it doesn't weigh three pounds like the brain does.

Nope. The tongue probably doesn't even weigh two ounces. But look at the damage the tongue can do.

It's not unlike the rudder of a ship. Comparatively speaking, the rudder is a small part of a big ship. Yet the captain can turn this small little part of a ship one direction or another and get a huge big ship to change course. Little rudders steer big ships even when there are strong winds.

Or big horses are guided by little bits in their mouths. What does a big horse weigh? A half ton? Yet the rider can get the horse to go one direction or another just by using a small bit in the horse's mouth.

Same with a forest fire. One little match can set off a blaze that may burn 100,000 acres.

So James compares the tongue to a fire in verse 6. He says that the tongue -- the small little tongue -- can corrupt a person's entire body. The tongue can become an evil instrument that becomes a restless, deadly poison. (See verses 3-8)

It sounds like James had taken the psalmist to heart: They make their tongue sharp as a serpent's, and under their lips is the venom of asps. (Psalm 140:3)

The apostle Paul gives us a mirror of the psalmist's thought, or perhaps James' writings which may also have been available to the apostle: Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. (Romans 3:13)

So James says that we bless God, even the Father, and yet we curse men around us. These very men are created in the likeness of God. We curse other people who are children of God. We curse and ridicule other people who are -- like us -- heirs to God's kingdom. (see verse 9)

And James says that out of the same mouth comes blessings and cursing. These things ought not to be. (see verse 10)

We are redeemed people. I believe that the good works that James talked about as an expectation of behavior from redeemed people included not just the good deeds that we do for others if we like them or if we are sympathetic to them, but good deeds also can be a silenced tongue that may want to spew out angry words.

James would conclude that this anger spitting out of our mouths, this venom coming from our tongue would compromise our faith. It would not mirror what a redeemed person would say and because of such angry venom, may even cause others to think our faith in God is not the genuine article.

We have to show our faith to others. And that faith comes from acting like we are redeemed people of God.

For instance, James says in verse 11 that a fountain cannot send out both sweet water and bitter water from the same spigot.

And you don't get olives from a fig tree.

Likewise, you don't get kind words from an angry tongue, especially if there's a poisonous snake living underneath the tongue (in a person's heart, for instance.)

If you want people to think you are wise and understanding, then you have to show it by the way you live your life. If you have bitterness in your heart -- if you harbor envy in your heart -- if you are selfish in your ambition -- then you cannot claim to be wise.

Wisdom comes from above. It is a spiritual endowment that is pure. It brings peace with it. Wisdom is gentle and full of mercy and good fruits. Wisdom doesn't show partiality, and it certainly has no part of hypocrisy. (see verses 15-17).

James closes this chapter with the thought that the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. (see verse 18)

Discussion:

James brings us a wealth of wisdom in forming human relationships. This week do one nice thing for someone that involves the spoken word -- whether it's sending a short, cheerful note to a shut-in or a birthday card or anniversary card to someone you know. Sometimes we make too big of a project out of sending a simple card to let someone know we're thinking of them. At most, it's probably a fifteen minute project.

Show your faith. Wear it well so that people who see you will know you are a redeemed person.

We pray: Dear Father in Heaven, I pray that you would help me show my faith to others in ways that glorify your name. I thank you for redeeming me from sin, death and the devil. I pray that you will give me the real wisdom that brings spiritual blessings to me and all those people I know and love. I thank you, Lord, for all your blessings. Amen.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

James 2:1-26 (KJV)

James had a point to make in this chapter and he repeats it several times. That point is: Faith without works is dead.

To put it another way: Good trees bear good fruit.

And then, there's the matter of partiality. James says, in verse 1 not to show favoritism. He uses an example of a rich man showing up for dinner at your house. Suppose this man comes, dressed in fine clothes and wearing expensive jewelry. Would you cater to him? Maybe put him at one of the best seats you have to offer?

Probably so.

What about someone else who looks like maybe he snuck in the back door. Not dressed too sharp. Maybe even smells a little bad. Rumpled, frumpy outfit. Where are you going to have him sit, if you let him stay at all?

Be careful, James warns. For if you kick the poor person out, you're showing favoritism. When you do that, you're judging against the poor person. James even warns in verse 4 about your having evil thoughts when you set yourself up to judge the poor person.

James explains in verse 5 that God chooses the poor of this world to be rich in faith, and they too are heirs to the kingdom which God has promised to all who love him.

And don't think that the rich guys are your friends, James warns. They're the ones who haul you off to court for whatever infractions they think you may be guilty of. The rich people exploit you. They use you for their own gain. (see verses 6-7)

Rather, says James, live by the royal law. That is: Love your neighbors as you love yourself. If you do this, you do well. (verse 8)

If you don't do this, and you show favoritism to the rich man, then you are a lawbreaker in terms of what God commands in verse 8. The law convicts you.

Where the law is concerned, James warns that if you keep all the commandments but break one, then you are guilty of breaking all of them. He uses the examples of adultery and murder. So you're adulterous. But you're not a murderer. James says you're a lawbreaker. (see verses 10-11) Breaking even one commandment of the law becomes your stumbling point.

Verse 14 brings a point from James that has to do with faith and works when he asks what does it profit you if you have faith but not works. Does faith save you?

My Concordia Study Bible makes this note on page 1899: James is not saying that a person is saved by works and not by genuine faith. Rather, he is saying, to use Martin Luther's words, that a man is justified (declared righteous before God) by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone. Genuine faith will produce good deeds, but only faith in Christ saves.

Matthew Henry offers this enrichment for our study: All these sayings Christ often used; it was easy to apply them. We ought to be very careful when we blame others; for we need allowance ourselves.

If we are of a giving and a forgiving spirit, we shall ourselves reap the benefit.

Though full and exact returns are made in another world, not in this world, yet Providence does what should encourage us in doing good. Those who follow the multitude to do evil, follow in the broad way that leads to destruction.

The tree is known by its fruits; may the word of Christ be so grafted in our hearts, that we may be fruitful in every good word and work. And what the mouth commonly speaks, generally agrees with what is most in the heart.

Those only make sure work for their souls and eternity, and take the course that will profit in a trying time, who think, speak, and act according to the words of Christ. Those who take pains in religion found their hope upon Christ, who is the Rock of Ages, and other foundation can no man lay. In death and judgment they are safe, being kept by the power of Christ through faith unto salvation and they shall never perish.
http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=50&source=2&seq=i.49.6.6

Again, James repeats himself in verse 17: Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

Okay, so here comes your argument. You say that you believe in the one true God. And James would say, so what? So does Satan. In fact, James says in verse 19, ...the devils tremble.

Oh for sure, there have been many instances down through history when the good acts of the faithful can be pointed to. James does this when he reminds us that Abraham had faith in God and went to the place where God wanted him to make a sacrifice of his son Isaac. Abraham obeyed. Abraham acted on his faith. He offered up his son. The act of offer Isaac was the act of faith. A genuine faith.

God knew that Abraham's faith was genuine. God stopped Abraham before he actually completed the act of the sacrifice. And James says in verse 23 that God called Abraham the Friend of God.

The same thing goes for the prostitute Rahab. She acted on her faith even at peril to her life. The story goes that back in the olden days, Joshua sent two men out as spies. He wanted them to check out this land around Jericho. So it happens that they ended up at the house of Rahab. She gave them lodging. But word got back to the king of Jericho that there were spies around who were checking the place out.

Well, it started to get dark. And it was time to close the gates for the night. The king's men went out looking for the spies. But they didn't know that Rahab had hidden Joshua's spies up on her roof. When the coast was clear, she let them down the wall by a rope through the window. Her house was one of those that was built into the city wall. Then Rahab told the spies to head for the hills and stay there for three days. By that time, the king's men would have come back to Jericho.

The spies then told Rahab that when they came back to demolish Jericho, to be sure to tie a scarlet cord at her window. That would be a signal that all who were in the house with Rahab would be spared because of her act of faith. (See Joshua 2:1-22).

Discussion:

It's difficult to not judge others. We say we aren't judging -- that we just hold an opinion about someone. How are opinions and judgments similar. And do you think your opinions can lead you to sin if they get too close to being judgments?

Talk about why God doesn't want us to judge others.

We pray: Oh Spirit of the Living God, I pray that you will be with me and guide me as I make my way through the days of my life.

I pray that you will reach into the dusty corners of my heart where there are often thoughts not pleasing to you. I pray that you will get rid of all those thoughts and clean my heart so that I may serve you.

I pray that you would help me in whatever I do in life. I thank you Lord for all the blessings you have given to me. I pray that you will help me grow in faith and renew my energy each day for the work that you would have me do. Amen.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

James 1: 1-27 (English Standard Version)

Had I started these Bible studies in the order they were written, James would have been the first to be studied. There are indications that this book was written before 50 A.D.

Recall that Paul wrote his first letter to the churches at Thessalonica in 50-51 A.D.

This letter from James is written to the Jews who are scattered among the nations (verse 1). The Jewish people had gathered in population centers as a result of the Diaspora, or Dispersion. See map at: http://www.ccel.org/bible/phillips/CPn20James.htm

Diaspora is a Greek word that means "a scattering." So when James addresses his letter to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations, he is writing to all the people of God who are scattered throughout the world. And we are members of that dispersion also, for the Word of God is written by God for all the people of God.

If James has a thesis in this first chapter, it is found in verse 27: Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

But this first chapter of James is also rich in its list of riches that we are bestowed from God in our lives. There are four riches that James lists.

1) The first of these riches is a testing of our faith: for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effort, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (verses 3-4)

2) the second of the four riches is wisdom. When we think of wisdom, who cannot get a picture of Solomon, perhaps the wisest of all men. Solomon prayed: Lord, I am but a little child... (see 1 Kings 3:16-28) James says If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him. (verse 5) We ought to prefer spiritual blessings to earthly good, says Matthew Henry.
http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=28&source=2&seq=i.11.3.2

3) the third of the four riches is an unexpected joy that man can receive blessings from God -- failure to anticipate or expect these blessings can cause a man to become bogged down in his "double-mindedness," as James puts it in verse 8. 

We might consider this double-mindedness like this: We believe that God always tells the truth. We believe that when God makes a promise, He always keeps his promise. When God promises His blessings, we believe that too. For other people. We may not be so sure that God is going to bless me, an undeserving sinner.

See the double-speak that Satan puts in our hearts? Can you hear Satan whispering in Eve's ear, "Did God really say that?" Sin entered the world on the whisper of Eve's double-mindedness. James warns against double-mindedness in verses 7-8.

God is trustworthy. The realization of that concept is one of our greatest riches. It will bring joy to your soul for all your days.

4) the fourth of these riches is the promise of a crown of life. James points out in verse 12: Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

James then makes this point that when people are tempted, they are not tempted by God. In verses 13-14, James 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.

To make his point perfectly clear, James adds this: Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (verse 15)

James wants us to know that every good and perfect gift comes from God above. It is God who gives us life itself for James says we are to be a kind of first-fruits of God's creatures. First-fruits is an interesting metaphor.

My Concordia Study Bible offers this note on page 1898: Just as the first sheaf of the harvest was an indication that the whole harvest would eventually follow, so the early Christians were an indication that a great number of people would eventually be born again.

Perhaps this metaphor was even more appropriate when James considered that so many of the Jewish Christians were scattered all over the place -- some in Africa, some on the European continent, some in Italy. James may have seen a foreshadowing of the early Christians being recommitted to a life in faith, of being reborn.

James wanted his beloved brothers to be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves...a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. See verses 22-25.

For sure, we'll hear more from James about faith without works, as his letter deepens in its message.

Discussion:

What are some of the ways that you believe your faith has been tested?

Talk about the double-mindedness of faith in your study group. How do you keep God's assurances in your heart?

Redeemed people are caring people. How do you show your caring to the outside world?

We pray: I pray, Oh Lord, that you would bless me with the discernment I need to share my life with others. And like Solomon, I feel like a child in my lack of knowledge and maturity. I pray that your Holy Spirit will guide me through these studies and I pray for all those who are reading them every day. Bless their studies and I pray that you would give the gift of your grace to them.

I pray for all those who serve you in mission fields everywhere around the world. Keep them safe from the double-mindedness of Satan so that they can bring the joy of your love to the people they serve. Amen.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

2 Timothy 4:1-22 (ESV)

This particular chapter of Paul's letter second letter to Timothy is always a sad one for me. It's the last we hear from Paul in the Bible. Paul is coming close to the time of his death since he was re-imprisoned by Nero during 66-67 A.D. (Concordia Study Bible, page 1857).

Although we don't have a record of the actual date of Paul's death, some Bible scholars place it at 67 A.D.

So let's listen to what Paul tells Timothy.

Paul charges Timothy to preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. (verse 2)

"In season and out of season" is another way of saying be ready at all times. No matter what happened, it appears that Paul wanted Timothy to be ready for anything that came his way. For sure, as a pastor, there would be times when he'd have to criticize or correct, even disapprove strongly of what someone might be doing or saying. And there would be times when Timothy would have to reprimand and scold someone. There would be moments when Timothy would need to give advice and warnings, and learned recommendations.

Timothy would need patience as he taught others in the faith of Jesus Christ.

Paul warns Timothy, in verses 3-5: For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Matthew Henry makes this note in his commentary: Jesus Christ is a Christian's hope; all our hopes of eternal life are built upon him; and Christ is in us the hope of glory. The apostle seems to have been the means of Timothy's conversion; who served with him in his ministry, as a dutiful son with a loving father. That which raises questions, is not for edifying; that which gives occasion for doubtful disputes, pulls down the church rather than builds it up. Godliness of heart and life can only be kept up and increased, by the exercise of faith in the truths and promises of God, through Jesus Christ.
http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=62&source=2&seq=i.61.1.1

We get an idea in these next few verses that Paul is fully aware of the fate that awaits him (verses 6-8): For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

In my view, no other words from Paul encapsulates his mission here on earth. You bet he fought the good fight. He was flogged and beaten to near death because he just would not quit sharing the gospel message of Jesus Christ with others.

He walked thousands of miles on his journeys of truth.

And the death that was waiting for him would be his crowning glory. He knew that he would not be crucified. After all, he was a Roman citizen. His death would not be the death of known troublemakers. No. His body would be drained of its blood. We just don't know for certain if he was beheaded or if his blood vessels were opened up by slashing. But his blood was about to be poured out. "As a drink offering," he says (verse 6).

Paul then lists the people who have abandoned him. No one is left with him but Luke. Paul so earnestly wants Timothy to hurry to him. And he wants Timothy to bring his cloak. And he wants Timothy to bring Mark with him. Paul is now in a cold, damp prison cell. He's not enjoying the relative comfort of being under house arrest anymore. He wants his cloak to keep him warm during his final days and hours.

And he wants his books -- his "parchments."

Despite the fact that Paul says people have left him and gone off to other places, he says in verses 17-18: But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

And finally we hear this from Matthew Henry: ... When we cannot rejoice in God as our song, yet let us stay ourselves upon him as our strength; and take the comfort of spiritual supports, when we cannot have spiritual delights. [Jesus] prays to be delivered from the Divine wrath. He that has delivered, doth deliver, and will do so. We should think upon the sufferings and resurrection of Christ, till we feel in our souls the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings.
http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=36&source=2&seq=i.23.22.2

There can be no doubt, in this final chapter, that Paul has reflected on the sufferings of Jesus Christ until he most certainly absorbs the power of Christ's resurrection. And I hear Paul in fellowship with Christ's sufferings, don't you?

He says he has fought the good fight and is now ready for the crown of life, a crown that will be given him as Christ makes his final judgment on Paul, the missionary extraordinaire. Paul the preacher, whose journeys took him far and wide. And yet he would have been all too willing to continue on his journeys except that none other than God himself had decided that Paul had made his last trip. Paul was to come home to heaven.

Discussion:

Talk about the person who has helped you the most in your journey of faith. Was it a Sunday School teacher? A pastor? Someone else? How has this person helped you and how do you want to be like this person?

How do you use the Bible in your journey of faith?

We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for all the missionaries who work and toil to bring your message of salvation to people who do not know you, or people who are unchurched. I pray that in some small way, they will be enticed through these studies to go deeper, to find a church home, to grow a deeper faith in their lives wherever they may be. Amen.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

2 Timothy 3:1-17 (ESV)

These pastoral letters of Paul -- the 1st and 2nd Letters to Timothy and the Letter to Titus -- could well serve as a handbook for how church leaders and pastors and teachers are to conduct themselves. Paul is not speaking about his theology as much as he is speaking with the authority that God has given him through the Holy Spirit.

In other words, these are not the words and opinions of Paul the missionary/apostle. Rather, Paul is the vessel through which the Holy Spirit is breathing out the words which Timothy is to absorb.

In fact, in verses 14-17, Paul provides the very nature of Scriptures -- the written Word -- as divine and inspired by God: But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

My Concordia Study Bible offers this note on page 1861: Paul affirms God's active involvement in the writing of Scripture, an involvement so powerful and pervasive that what is written is the infallible and authoritative word of God.

Matthew Henry says that ... Christ's whole life was a self-denying, self-displeasing life. And he is the most advanced Christian, who is the most conformed to Christ. Considering his spotless purity and holiness, nothing could be more contrary to him, than to be made sin and a curse for us, and to have the reproaches of God fall upon him; the just for the unjust. He bore the guilt of sin, and the curse for 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 ...

... The Scriptures are written for our use and benefit, as much as for those to whom they were first given. Those are most learned who are most mighty in the Scriptures. That comfort which springs from the word of God, is the surest and sweetest, and the greatest stay to hope...
http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=53&source=2&seq=i.52.15.1

Earlier in this chapter, Paul had told Timothy to understand that in the last days there will come times of difficulty: For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.(verses 2-5a)

Paul tells Timothy to avoid those kinds of people because they somehow manage to creep into households and capture weak women who are burdened with sins and are led astray by various passions. And even though they are always learning, they aren't able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. (verses 5b-7)

There's a reference to two men in verse 8: Jannes and Jambres. These two defied Moses. If you remember the story, Mose and his brother Aaron were to go to Pharaoh when called.

And sure enough, Pharaoh called them in and said: "Prove yourselves by working a miracle."

God then told Moses to tell Aaron to "Take your staff and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent."

So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents.

But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs. Still Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.
(from Exodus 7:8-13)

Neither Jannes and Jambres were actually mentioned by name in the Old Testament, but according to Jewish tradition, they were the Egyptian court magicians who opposed Moses. (Concordia Study Bible, page 1861)

Paul's reference to the magicians is to make a point to Timothy in verses 8-9: Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

Discussion:

After reading this chapter, think of all the ways you can nurture your spiritual life.

Paul had quite a list of ways that people would be who were not lovers of God. What can you add to this list?

We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I need passages like these truths from Paul in times when I need to remind myself of how easy it is to slip into bad habits. I pray that your Holy Spirit would help me be ever vigilant to the antics of Satan and all the evil spirits he has at his disposal.

And I see that just as the court magicians back in Moses' day were also capable of producing snakes from their walking staffs, I am reminded that Satan has magical powers too. He can certainly be a trickster who tries to set traps to those who believe in you.

I pray that you would protect me from Satan and all that is evil. Amen.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

2 Timothy 2: 1-26

Paul continues to counsel Timothy in this chapter. He uses seven metaphors that differentiate the facets of ministry:

1. As a child, he is to be strong and active (verses 1-2)
2. As a soldier, he is to suffer hardship and also please his superior (verses 3-4)
3. As an athlete, he is to obey the rules of the game (verse 5)
4. As a husbandman (farmer), he is to labor and thus have full participation in the results (verse 6)
5. As a workman, he is to be diligent, rightly handling the Word of God (verse 15)
6. As a vessel, he is to be honorable, ready for the Master's use (verse 21)
7. As a servant, he is to be gentle and helpful (verses 24-25)
from New Testament Survey, Walter M. Dunnett, Ph.D., Evangelical Teacher Training Association, Wheaton, IL, 1973, p. 69

Paul wants Timothy to follow his example and to reject the false teachings that are buzzing around the area.

In verse 7, Paul gives this instruction to Timothy: Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

Then Paul adds: Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal.

But God's word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
(verses 8-10)

So there sits Paul, a Roman citizen, being persecuted at the hand of Nero for preaching the gospel of Christ. Paul is bound in chains like a common criminal. We do not know whether sentence has been passed on him at this point or not, but later in this letter, we can discern that Paul has the idea that he is about to die.

He is alone, except for faithful Luke, who is by his side. Perhaps Luke is penning this letter to Timothy for Paul. Not sure if Paul would have able to write this letter himself since he was in chains, or if he would have been allowed to anything to anybody.

Paul's strong faith shows through these next verses as he outlines what he calls a "trustworthy saying" for Timothy in verses 11-13:

If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
if we are faithless,
he will remain faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.

Matthew Henry offers this: ...Where faith grows, love will abound, for faith works by love. It shows faith and patience, such as may be proposed as a pattern for others, when trials from God, and persecutions from men quicken the exercise of those graces; for the patience and faith of which the apostle gloried, bore them up, and enabled them to endure all their tribulations.
http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=61&source=2&seq=i.60.1.1

Paul has a strong warning to watch out for the heretics who continue to plague the preaching and teaching of Christ's gospel message. In verses 16-17a, we read: Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene...

Paul mentions Hymenaeus and Philetus again. If you recall, in Paul's first letter to Timothy, he says that he has handed these two men over to Satan to do with them what he wants to. These two men were leaders of a heresy that was an early form of Gnosticism.

Paul says they wandered from the truth when they taught that there wasn't really a physical resurrection from the dead -- that such a claim was just an allegory not a literal possibility.

Paul then becomes the mentor -- the professor -- the teacher when he counsels Timothy further in verses 22-24: Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.

And out of all that, Paul says he hopes that such quarrelsome, oppositional people will come to their senses and "escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will." (see verse 26)

Discussion:

Reflect on the goals that Paul listed for Timothy in verse 22. Which of these goals do you believe are your strengths? Which of these goals do you think you need to work on for yourself?

We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that you would send your Holy Spirit to me to guide and protect me from Satan and all that is evil. There are false teachers here just as surely as there were in Paul's day. I pray that you would give me the strength to resist all the temptations that Satan puts in front of me. Amen.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

2 Timothy 1:1-18

After Paul's release from prison in Rome in 62 A.D. and after his fourth missionary journey, during which he wrote 1 Timothy and Titus, Paul was again imprisoned under Emperor Nero c. 66-67. It was during this time that he wrote 2 Timothy. In contrast to his first imprisonment, when he lived in a rented house (Acts 28:30), he now languished in a cold dungeon (4:13), chained like a common criminal (1:16, 2:9). His friends ever had a hard time finding out out where he was being kept (1:17). Paul knew that his work was done and his life was nearly at an end (4;6-8). Concordia Study Bible, p. 1857

Since Paul was unmarried, he never experienced the joy of parenthood. But he comes close with Timothy, a surrogate son whom he loves deeply. In the second verse, he addresses Timothy: To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

He continues his greeting, in verses 3-4: I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.

There must have been moments, perhaps at the end of the day when shadows got long, when the day was dying. These may have been times when Paul felt tremendously alone. He reached out to Timothy. He remembered Timothy's tears and this must have saddened Paul.

Can you just imagine these two -- Paul and Timothy -- two pastors/missionaries who were so excited in their commitment to spreading the gospel message to any place on earth that they could travel to. They travelled together frequently. They shared what meager meals they could scrounge up.

The enjoyed the comforts of other people's hospitality when it was available to them.

And they shared their deep abiding love for Jesus Christ. Timothy was making great progress as a young pastor and Paul must have been happy with his growing abilities.

And now, as the end of Paul's life nears, Timothy is in a far away place. It's a sad time for them both.

Paul then connects with Timothy on a family level as he reminds Timothy of Lois, his grandmothers, and Eunice, his mother. Both these women were Christians and had powerful faith. Paul tells Timothy why he brings up Timothy's mother and grandmother in verses 6-7: For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Paul's message to Timothy is that the power of the Holy Spirit has been brought to Timothy through Paul. Paul was the conduit that allowed the ordination of Timothy to take place, but the power of discernment and the authority to speak boldly -- not timidly or reluctantly -- about the Christian faith came from none other than the Holy Spirit.

Matthew Henry says that Paul is proposing to set himself as an example for Timothy: As our trials increase, we need to grow stronger in that which is good; our faith stronger, our resolution stronger, our love to God and Christ stronger. This is opposed to our being strong in our own strength.

All Christians, but especially ministers, must be faithful to their Captain, and resolute in his cause. The great care of a Christian must be to please Christ. We are to strive to get the mastery of our lusts and corruptions, but we cannot expect the prize unless we observe the laws...
http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=63&source=2&seq=i.62.2.1

Paul then implores that Timothy not be ashamed to testify about Jesus Christ, and also not to be ashamed of Paul even though he is a prisoner. Paul then adds, in verses 8b-9: But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life -- not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.

I correlate this text message so strongly with Ephesians 2:10 -- For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

This whole concept of time and God always being in the universe, with his Son, Jesus Christ, and they -- together with the Holy Spirit -- knew all things long before anything happened.

And if God has known us from his vantage point before time, did he know what my transgressions would be in this life? And if he did, what lessons has he prepared in advance for me to do so that I can be pruned into the worker that he wants me to be?

Paul was not just being poetic here. I believe that he connected with God and with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit on a different level. Somewhere within the depths of his soul, Paul was in communion with the keeper of this universe and this communion was outside the constraints of our concept of time.

Paul shares with Timothy this thought when he talks about grace given to us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time. And Christ was present with his father before time began. We usually think of the Jesus Christ we know who came to earth and lived and died as a man. But Jesus Christ was also the Son of God who walked with his father throughout the universe before time began.

Paul then urges Timothy to guard the "good deposit" that was entrusted in him -- that being the gospel message of Jesus Christ. He admonishes Timothy to guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. (see verses 13-14)

Then Paul mentions that he is alone and that Phygelus and Hermogenes have deserted him to go running off to Asia somewhere. Paul mentions these two people by name but we don't hear of them anywhere else.

But then there was Onesiphorus. Quite another matter. Onesiphorus ministered to Paul, even though it was difficult for him to find Paul in prison. But Onesiphorus stuck with it and didn't give up easily until he found out where Paul was at and went to him.

Of this man, Paul offers this prayer in verse 16: May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.

Onesiphorus was one of the Seventy Apostles -- see Luke 10 -- that Christ named after he had selected his twelve disciples. Onesiphorus became the Bishop of Colophon (Asia Minor), and later of Corinth. He was martyred in the city of Parium (not far from Ephesus) where he had gone to proclaim Christ among the local pagans. http://orthodoxwiki.org/Apostle_Onesiphorus

Reference to The Seventy: http://orthodoxwiki.org/Apostles#The_Seventy

Discussion:

Paul's second imprisonment becomes a "Gethsemane moment" for him, if you will. He believes that the end of his life is near. And from what Paul has said in prior letters, he has run the good race, fought the good fight and is ready to go to be with God. That he would want to continue to live would bring him great joy only because he could then travel even further to spread the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Do you agree or disagree?

We pray: Oh Lord our Heavenly Father, I pray that you would guard your called servants of the word for you have ordained them with whispered truths written in the blood of your Son, Jesus Christ.

I pray that whatever tasks they are called to do, they will know the strength that only you can impart by the indwelling of your Holy Spirit. I pray that you would bless their work and give them ever-larger territories to sew the seeds of faith. Amen.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

THE PERSECUTIONS: REMEMBERING THE MARTYRS

When we talk about the people who were martyred, we have to name Jesus as the first martyr. Persecution of Christians started with him, though the name "Christians" was not in use at that time.

At his trial, Jesus was asked directly, "Are you then the Son of God?"
He replied, "You are right in saying I am." (Luke 26:70)

The religious elite in Jerusalem knew what Jesus was saying -- He was claiming to be God. As such, Jesus was put to death on a Roman cross for the crime of blasphemy, thus becoming the first martyr for what would then become the Christian Church.

34 A.D.     Only one year after Jesus was martyred, Stephen was taken out of Jerusalem and stoned to death. He was killed because he preached the gospel faithfully.

The persecutions of Christians continued after Stephen's death. There were some 2,000 Christians who suffered martyrdom during the persecution that arose about Stephen.

44 A.D.     According to Luke's account of the Acts of the Apostles, James, the son of Zebedee and who was the older brother of John and a relative of our Lord. He was also known as James the Greater.  James was killed when Herod Agrippa arrived as governor of Judea. Agrippa detested the Christian sect of Jews, and many early disciples were martyred under his rule. One account of James' execution written by Clemens Alexandrinus is that as James was led to the place of his death, his accuser repented of his conduct because James' extraordinary courage. He fell down at James' feet to request his pardon, professing himself to be a Christian and resolved that James should not die alone. So both men were beheaded at the same time. 

54 A.D.     Philip was the next disciple to be martyred. In fact, Philip was the first to be called a "disciple."  Philip was a tireless worker for the Christian faith in Upper Asia. He died in Phrygia. He was scourged, thrown into prison and then crucified.

60 A.D.     Remember the tax collector? Matthew wrote his gospel in Hebrew and it was later translated into Greek by James the Less. Matthew worked as a missionary in Parthia and Ethiopia. It was in Ethiopia where he was martyred with a halberd, a long-handled axe that was designed to smash helmets.

62 A.D.     James, the brother of our Lord, is widely called the Just. He drank no wine or other intoxicating liquor, not did he eat flesh, no razor came upon his head, he did not anoint himself oil, nor make use of the bath. He alone was permitted to enter the holy place for he did not wear any woollen garment, but fine linen only.

He used to be found kneeling on his knees, begging forgiveness for the people -- so that the skin of his knees became like that of a camel's, by reason of his constantly bending the knee in adoration to God, and begging forgiveness for the people. It is because of this seeking justice for the people that he was called the Just, which signifies in Greek, Defence of the People, and Justice.

He was elected to the oversight of the churches of Jerusalem and was the author of the epistle ascribed to James in the Bible.

According to an account written by Hegesippus in his Five Books of Commentaries on the Acts of the Church, written in 170 A.D., from Book V: They came, therefore, in a body to James, and said, "We entreat thee, restrain the people: for they are gone astray in their opinions about Jesus, as if he were Christ. We entreat thee to persuade all who have come hither for the day of the passover, concerning Jesus. For we all listen to thy persuasion; since we, as well as all the people, bear thee testimony that thou art just, and showest partiality to none. Do thou, therefore, persuade the people not to entertain erroneous opinions concerning Jesus: for all the people, and we also, listen to thy persuasion. Take thy stand, then, upon the summit of the temple, that from that elevated spot that mayest be clearly seen, and they words may be plainly audible to all the people. For, in order to attend the passover, all the tribes have congregated hither, and some of the Gentiles also."

James then asked, "Why ask ye me concerning Jesus the Son of man? He himself sitteth in heaven, at the right hand of the Great Power, and shall come on the clouds of heaven."

The the Pharisees and scribes said to one another, "We have not done well in procuring the testimony to Jesus. But let us go up and throw him down, that they may be afraid, and not believe him."

And they cried aloud and said, "Oh! Oh! The just man himself is in error." So they went up and threw down the just man, and said to one another, "Let us stone James the Just." And they began to stone him, for he was not killed by the fall, but he turned and kneeled down and said, "I beseech thee, Lord God our Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

But one among them, one of the fullers, took the staff with which he was accustomed to wringing out the garments he dyed, and hurled it at the head of the just man.

At the age of ninety-four, he suffered martyrdom by having his brains bashed out by the fuller's rod and they buried him on the spot.

date not known -- Matthias was elected to fill the spot vacated by Judas. He was stoned at Jerusalem and then beheaded.

date not known -- Andrew was the brother of Peter. His missionary trips took him to many Asiatic nations, but on his arrival at Edessa he was taken and crucified on an x-shaped cross, the two ends of which were fixed transversely in the ground. Soldiers tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross. Andrew saluted it in these words, "I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it." He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he died.

date not known -- Mark was born of Jewish parents of the tribe of Levi. He is supposed to have been converted to Christianity by Peter, whom he served as a scribe, or secretary, and under whose inspection he wrote his Gospel in the Greek language. Mark was dragged by horses through the streets until he fell to pieces in Alexandria, Egypt, at the great solemnity of Serapis their idol, ending his life under their merciless hand.

date not known -- Peter was condemned to death, and crucified in Rome. Hegesippus said that Nero sought matter against Peter to put him to death; which, when the people perceived, they entreated Peter with much ado that he would fly the city. Peter, through their importunity at length persuaded, prepared himself to avoid. But, coming to the gate, he saw the Lord Christ come to meet him, to whom he, worshipping, said, "Lord, whither does thou go?" To whom He answered and said, "I am come again to be crucified." By this Peter, perceiving his suffering to be understood, returned into the city. Jerome saith that he was crucified, his head being down and his feet upward, himself so requiring, because he said he was unworthy to be crucified after the same form and manner as the Lord was.

68 A.D.     Paul, the apostle, after great travail and unspeakable labors in promoting the Gospel of Christ, suffered in the persecution by Nero. Soldiers came and led him out of the city to the place of execution, where he, after his prayers, gave his neck to the sword. Other references say he was tortured and then beheaded by Nero.

72 A.D.     Jude, the brother of James, was commonly called Thaddeus. He was crucified at Edessa when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. Some references say he was killed with arrows.

date not known -- Bartholomew preached in several countries, and having translated the Gospel of Matthew into the language of India, he propagated it in that country. He was cruelly beaten and then crucified by the impatient idolaters. Some say he was flayed to death by a whip in Armenia.

date not known -- Thomas, called Didymus, preached the Gospel in Parthia and India, where exciting the rage of the pagan priests, he was martyred by being thrust through with a spear.

date not known -- Luke -- the evangelist was the author of the Gospel which goes under his name, as well as the Acts of the Apostles. He travelled with Paul through various countries, and is supposed to have been hanged on an olive tree, by the idolatrous priests of Greece.

73 A.D.     Barnabus was of Cyrpus, but of Jewish descent. He was one of the group of seventy disciples. He was stoned to death at Salonica.

date not known -- John faced martyrdom when he was boiled in a huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome. John was the brother of James the Great. The churches of Smyrna, Pergamos, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, and Thyatira were founded by John. However, he was miraculously delivered from death. John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos. The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey. He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.

From the reference All About Following Jesus: "Christian persecution was a dramatic part of early church  history. For anyone who holds that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was a man-made hoax conspired by a group of disciples should check out the legacy of martyrdom. Eleven of the 12 apostles, and many of the other early disciples, died for their adherence to this story. This is dramatic, since they all witnessed the alleged events of Jesus and still went to the deaths defending their faith. Why is this dramatic, when many throughout history have died martyred deaths for a religious belief? Because people don't die for a lie. Look at human nature throughout history. No conspiracy can be maintained when life or liberty is at stake. Dying for a belief is one thing, but numerous eye-witnesses dying for a known lie is quite another."

Keep Paul in mind as we continue our study of his epistles tomorrow. We will start our study of his second letter to Timothy. This letter is the last we hear of Paul. It is his final epistle, and we get a glimpse of Paul's recognition that his death is nearing. Join us here tomorrow.

References

http://www.allaboutfollowingjesus.org/christian-persecution.htm

http://www.biblestudy.org/bibleref/boxbkmrt/foxmartyr.html

http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=8

http://www.direct.ca/trinity/disciples.html

http://www.domcentral.org/life/martyr05.htm

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/hegesippus.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_the_Just

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Titus 3:1-15

We are beginning the final chapter of Paul's letter to the young pastor, Titus.

Paul has advice for his young colleague. Then he attaches a kind of urgency to the note when he asks Titus to send a lawyer.

Paul is not living in prison at this point of his life.

But, sadly, Paul is less than a decade from the end of his life. The truth is, it's probably less than five years from when Paul wrote this letter to Titus to the time of his untimely death.

My Concordia Study Bible has this letter as being written somewhere between 63 and 65 A.D. (page 1865)

We don't have any Biblical reference as to when Paul was martyred. But we know, that at least for this time, he is a free man. And he most certainly wants Titus to have all the benefits of his pastoral knowledge.

I almost get the sense that Paul is in a hurry.

Do you think that he suspects that his end is near. Here comes the "laundry list" again. Right from the get-go in this chapter, Paul wants Titus to get busy.

In verses 1-2, he says: Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.

Paul then reminds Titus of how he came to believe -- and that is: At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. (verse 3)

Paul then talks about how he was saved. He gives us details in verses 4-8a: But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.

He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying.

Can you just imagine what it would be like to come in contact with the Apostle Paul before his conversion? Here was a man who wanted to rid the world of all these new believers -- these Christians! He carried on his person, execution orders that would allow him to kill Christians on sight.

And yet, here he is now with at least as much energy and zeal -- in the twilight years of his life, trying as hard as he can to get the next generation of pastors ready to carry on after he is martyred.

Do you think Paul has a clue as to his fate? Perhaps. He must have remembered Stephen's martyrdom. He must know that Nero is a psychopath looking for a place to quench his thirst for blood.
 
Nero would be only too happy to drink from the cup of Paul's soul.

Yes, Paul was in a hurry. Running as fast a race as he ever could.

Sure, he was out of jail for the present. But the race was on. How much longer would he be free?

So he tells Titus in verse 8b: And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

And here's some profound wisdom that we all could think about as we go through our lives under attack from forces outside Christianity (verses 9-11): But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

I can think of some people I saw on the news recently that fit that description, can't you?

The truth is we are confronted by evil-doers all the time. But God puts people in our paths. Why? To give us an opportunity to confront what we truly believe? To challenge us and see if we'll "cave in?"

I remember when I was going through a period of hospice training and we had such a thought go through our class. There was an astute gentleman in the class who wanted to work in a veterans hospice. He pointed out that sometimes we are introduced to people so that we can learn about ourselves from them.

Paul certainly met more than his share. And yet, not once did he waver from the path that God had chosen for him to take. In this verse, Paul makes it clear to Titus that he wants him not to tarry with people who have condemned themselves.

Then Paul gives Titus his itinerary with the note that he plans to winter over at Nicopolis.

Oh, and he wants Titus to do what he can to send Paul's lawyer to him, in verse 13: Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way and see that they have everything they need.

In a general way, Paul closes this letter to Titus. It's a short letter, but it's rich in its admonitions to Titus. Paul cares for this young man and seems to want to make certain that he has all the spiritual strength and guidance he needs to tend a flock of new believers.

Discussion:

Think about the speculation that has come down through the centuries about Paul's life:

Did he go on a 4th missionary journey or not? We aren't really sure. He said he want to go to Spain.

What was Paul doing in this brief respite between his first and second imprisonment?

Was Luke with him? Luke's written account of Paul's travels ends with the final chapters of Acts. What happened to Luke and why don't we hear from him further about Paul's travels?

In the next several days, we are going to follow a journey of what the research tells us of the martyrdom of these early leaders of the Christian church and we'll pick up Paul's second letter to Timothy on Monday.

But first, let's take a look at how these devout believers and pastors paid with their lives.

We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I suspect that there are people out there in the mission field who just disappear and are never heard from again. It wasn't just Daniel in the lions den who risked his life for what he believed in.

It wasn't just Paul who paid with his life for what he believed in.

I pray, Oh Lord, that you would keep me and those whom I love safe from a martyr's death. I pray that I will always live in a country that allows me to express my belief in you, my Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Titus 2:1-15

Much like Paul's message to Timothy in an earlier study, Paul stresses to Titus how believers ought to behave themselves as they go about their daily lives.

He zeros in on older men, older women, younger women, younger men and slaves.

Paul has very strong opinions in matters of sexual morality and overindulgence when it comes to alcohol. You can be sure that Paul would find "Rated X" movies coming out of Hollywood abominable.

He wouldn't have tolerated the antics of King Henry VIII in jolly old England.

He would find nudity in films abominable -- something that would contaminate the mind and heart with all that flamboyant passion.

So here's what Paul says to Titus about what he's to teach the older men: Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. (verse 2)

In verses 3-5, Paul dictates what older women are to be taught: Likewise, 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.

Do you get the feeling that the older women may have been getting into the cooking wine? This is not the first reference that we have of Paul warning against too much wine. Or slandering either, for that matter.

There is such a group called a "Titus 2:4 Ministry." I haven't heard much about it recently but it's a women's group where older women in a congregation help the young newly married women in a kind of mentoring ministry. Paul would have jumped for joy at such an organization within a church.

As for the young men, here's what Paul told Titus to do in verses 6-8: Similarly, encourage the young men to be 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.

Matthew Henry offers this insight: ...The right way to reform men's lives is to convince their consciences. If you walk in the fear of God, you will not be either covetous of worldly gain, or cruel toward your brethren. Nothing exposes religion more to reproach than the worldliness and hard-heartedness of the professors of it. Those that rigorously insist upon their right, with a very ill grace, try to persuade others to give up theirs. In reasoning with selfish people, it is good to contrast their conduct with that of others who are liberal; but it is best to point to His example, who though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we, through his poverty, might be rich (2 Cor. 8:9). They did according to promise. Good promises are good things, but good performances are better.
http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=33&source=2&seq=i.16.5.2

Even to slaves, Paul offers this in verses 9-10: Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, 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 about God our Savior attractive.

Matthew Henry says: Do your duty without murmurings. Do it, and do not find fault with it. Mind your work, and do not quarrel with it. By peaceableness; give no just occasion of offence.

The children of God should differ from the sons of men. The more perverse others are, the more careful we should be to keep ourselves blameless and harmless. The doctrine and example of consistent believers will enlighten others and direct their way to Christ and holiness, even as the lighthouse warns mariners to avoid rocks, and directs their course into the harbour. Let us try thus to shine.

The gospel is the word of life, it makes known to us eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Running denotes earnestness and vigour, continual pressing forward;

labouring denotes constancy, and close application.

It is the will of God that believers should be much in rejoicing; and those who are so happy as to have good ministers, have great reason to rejoice with them.
http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=58&source=2&seq=i.57.2.3

I have a footnote in my Concordia Study Bible on page 1867: "[Verse 11] introduces the doctrinal basis for the ethical demands just stressed. Right conduct must be founded on right doctrine."

This doctrinal message is contained in verses 11-15: For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.

It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope -- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

And in closing this chapter, Paul reminds Titus to be authoritative if he needed to be. Perhaps Titus was a young man and the Cretans may not have taken him as seriously as they should have, as frequently happens with young and unseasoned pastors. So Paul is standing firmly behind Titus with lots of encouragement for him and also offers a warning to rebuke those who needed to be.
 
Discussion:

In light of Paul's admonitions to Titus about the different groups of people, what do you think Paul's reaction would be if, for instance, he were to show up on the set of "Desperate Housewives?" Or any number of movies or television shows that have outrageous sexual themes laced with adulterous behavior?

What do you think could be done to turn the tide away Hollywood's exploitation of sexual themes?

And by the same token, talk about Paul's reaction to Alcoholics Anonymous and the wonderful work that it does in communities all over the globe.

We pray: Oh Lord, I pray for your strength and guidance to fill my heart and mind so that I can be a good example for those people who wonder how people who profess to be Christians behave.

I pray that you would show me the way that you want me to go. And if I head off in the wrong direction, I pray that you would guide me back to the right path.

I thank you, Lord, for all your blessings and most of all, for your grace. I do not deserve the gift of salvation and even though I may try to live each day without intentional transgressions against you, I am still born a sinner and always will be until the day I die. For the gift of your salvation, which came at a tremendous price of the death of your son, Jesus Christ, I am unworthy but eternally thankful. Amen.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Titus 1:1-16

There is not a mention of Titus in Luke's entire Acts of the Apostles. However, there are twelve times in Paul's writings where he does talk about Titus, who was a convert of Paul's and a person in whom Paul had much confidence. Enough so that Paul gave him ecclesiastical authority over the Christian churches in Crete.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14727b.htm

In 2 Corinthians 2:12-13: Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord has opened a door for me, I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said good-by to them and went on to Macedonia.

2 Corinthians 7:5-7: For when we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn-- conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.

2 Corinthians 7:13-15: By all this we are encouraged. In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you. I had boasted to him about you, and you have not embarrassed me. But just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting about you to Titus has proved to be true as well. And his affection for you is all the greater when he remembers that you were all obedient, receiving him with fear and trembling.

2 Corinthians 8:6-7: So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion, this act of grace on your part. But just as you excel in everything -- in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us -- see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

2 Corinthians 8:16-17: I thank God, who put into the heart of Titus the same concern I have for you. For Titus not only welcomed our appeal, but he is coming to you with much enthusiasm and on his own initiative.

2 Corinthians 8:23: As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you; as for our brothers, they are representatives of the churches and an honor to Christ.

2 Corinthians 12:18: I urged Titus to go to you and I sent our brother with him. Titus did not exploit you, did he? Did we not act in the same spirit and follow the same course?

Galatians 2:1-5: Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those whom seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain. Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you.

2 Timothy 4:9-13: Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When yo come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.

Titus 1:4: To Titus, my true son in our common faith -- grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

One source says that Titus continue after Paul's death as Archbishop of Crete and died there when he was over ninety. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14727b.htm

The above references will give you an idea of the high regard that Paul had for Titus.

Titus accompanied Paul back to Jerusalem to meet with the Jewish leaders, so we know from this that he was a traveling companion of Paul's.

Paul is released from prison when he writes this letter, perhaps from Corinth, probably between 63 A.D. and 65 A.D. (Concordia Study Bible, p. 1865). This is a short letter, only three chapters. But it is rich in its instruction on how to live a Christian life that is pleasing to God.

Paul does not write his second letter to Timothy until he is captured and re-imprisoned.

After his greetings and salutations to Titus, Paul offers this explanation: The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. (verse 5)

Paul then makes it clear how an elder is supposed to behave and what he is supposed to do in a church (verses 6-9): An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.

Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless -- not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to  the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

There is apparently a problem in the Cretan church, for Paul says this to Titus in verses 10-14: For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach -- and that for the sake of dishonest gain. Even one of their own prophets has said, "Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons." This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay not attention to Jewish myths.

So we have the "circumcision group" at work here in Crete too. Recall that these were the Jewish people who held on to the notion that in order to come by salvation, a person must still uphold ancient Levitical laws, namely circumcision and other ceremonies outlined to the tribe of Levi.

The Cretan prophet that Paul is referring to is the poet Epimenides from the sixth century B.C. He apparently had made some predictions that had come true so for that reason, had been held in high esteem. Further, in Greek literature, "to Cretanize" meant to lie. (Concordia Study Bible, page 1866).

So Paul says that Titus is to rebuke them sharply so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth. (verses 13-14)

In fact, if people are pure in heart, Paul says that to them all things are pure. But to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. (see verse 15) Paul says that both their minds and consciences are corrupted.

Paul says these people are detestable. They are disobedient. And they are not fit for doing anything good. And just because they claim to know God, doesn't mean that they do because their actions say otherwise.

Discussion:

Titus was held in deep affection by Paul. They had apparently preached together in Crete and now it's time for Titus to appoint elders in the new Christian church.

Discuss these traits that Paul says elders are to possess:

Must be blameless
Husband of but one wife
children should believe and not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient
must be blameless
must not be overbearing
must not be quick-tempered
must not be given to drunkenness
must not be violent
must not pursue dishonest gain
must be hospitable
must love what is good
must be self-controlled
must be upright
must be bold
must be disciplined
must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine
must refute those who oppose it

We pray: Oh Spirit of the Living God, I pray that you would protect me from Satan and all that is evil, so that I will not cause pain.

I thank you for all the pastors in this world and I pray that you would bless their ministries as they bring your truth to the flocks they have been entrusted with.

I pray for the safety of all believers who often cannot worship you in public in some places of this world. How much we take this for granted in the United States where churches don't have near as many believers showing up for worship as there ought to be.

I pray that you would send your Holy Spirit into the hearts of all people everywhere and especially to those who have yet to experience that wonder of an epiphany moment when they come to know Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

1 Timothy 6:1-21

In the very first verse of this chapter, Paul brings up the question of slavery: 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.

I am curious when I read that opening verse, for I wanted to know just how prevalent slavery was in the Roman Empire. I mean we know about the Jewish experience with slavery -- they were held in bondage in Egypt many many years before Moses came and got them.

Well, it seems that "one authority estimated that in the Roman Empire of Paul's day there were 60 million slaves, with 20 million in Italy alone and 650,000 in Rome.

"Almost all labor was performed by slaves, for work was beneath the dignity of a Roman citizen. The slave was not a person, but a thing. Aristotle taught that slave and master could never be friends, for the two had nothing in common...

"The master possessed the power of life or death over a slave. If the slave ran away, he could be killed upon capture, or, at best, branded on the forehead with the letter F for fugitivus (fugitive)..." http://www.christianethicstoday.com/issue/009/Is%20the%20Head%20of%20the%20House%20at%20Home%20(Ephesians%205_21-6_9)%20By%20Joe%20E.%20Trull_009_3_.htm

So what happens, though, when the slave and master are both believers and members of the same church. Within the church worship service are they then to be treated as equals?

Paul continues to explain in verse 2: 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.

So Timothy is supposed to "urge these instructions" onto the slaves that they are still supposed to revere and honor their masters even when they are present together in a worship service. And maybe do it all the more because the masters are dear to them.

Recall that Christian love arouses an attitude of servanthood. I would hope that because of this, the Christian master/believer would also be a servant to the slave and not behave so much as Aristotle suggested when he said they could never have anything in common. Believers in Jesus Christ have something in common with all other believers.

For that reason, perhaps social status was set aside within the worship experience and at least in the church, both slave and master could share the love of Jesus Christ that they had in common.

Having said what he wanted to say about the slavery question, Paul then returns to the subject of false doctrines that was threatening to undermine the integrity of the early Christian churches.

Paul denounces these teachers in verses 3-5. He says they're "conceited and they don't know what they're talking about. They like to go around stirring up trouble that results in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind.

"They've been robbed of the truth and they think godliness is a means to financial gain."

No doubt this is a reference to the idol makers who made all those little silver likenesses of Artemis (also known as Diana). The temple that was built to Artemis was one of the wonders of the ancient world. It was also a center of commerce in that it was a bank that held a lot of money from individuals as well as cities. 

Just having the concession trade at this temple where all sorts of souvenirs could be sold as well as refreshments would have been a lucrative enterprise. And riots ensued when many of these believers turned away from the little silver-cast gods to worship the God of salvation who could provide eternal life through belief in the gospel message of Jesus Christ.  

This, and the magic trade with all the incantations that were for sale, was another lucrative source of financial gain that Paul talks about in verse 5.

These were the people who thought godliness was a means to financial gain.

An excellent nutshell comment of what was happening in Ephesus at the time of Paul can be found at this link: http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/4419.htm

Paul explains further in verses 6-8: But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

Where money is concerned, Paul has a stern warning in verses 9-10: People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

This is an oft misquoted verse. It usually comes out that money is the root of all evil. That isn't what Paul says.

God does not have a problem with people who are rich. In fact, wealth is one of the blessings that can come from God. Witness Solomon, who was the richest man in the world. But Solomon never ever gave up his faith in God.

No -- it's the love of money that gets people in trouble, for when people love money, idolatry isn't too far away.

Paul's charge to Timothy, then, is this: But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
(verses 11-12)

In verses 13-16, Paul reiterates the message of praise to God in a doxology that Timothy is to keep God's command without spot or blame until Jesus Christ returns. We hear a liturgical refrain embedded in these verses: ...God the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords ... to him be honor and might forever. Amen.

Paul then asks Timothy to command the rich folks not to be arrogant and not to put their hope in wealth. After all, personal wealth is pretty uncertain. Stock markets crash. houses burn to the ground, earthquakes level buildings. All the things that stand for wealth and possessions of this world can end in a matter of seconds.

But God -- now that's another story because God richly provides what we need to get through our lives until it is time to rejoin him in heaven.

Paul wants Timothy to command people to do good and to be generous and willing to share with others.

If they do these things, then Paul says they will store up treasures for themselves that is the real meaning of life.

And in closing, Paul says this to his dear friend Timothy, the man he embraces as his spiritual son: Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. (verses 20-21)

These closing verses carry a warning to be wary of the Gnostics who believe that people can be saved by acquiring knowledge.

Discussion:

Talk about the lessons you have learned from this powerful letter to Timothy.

Paul covers many areas of how people are to live their lives and how they are to behave in their worship life.

How as this affected the way you live your life?

We pray: Oh Lord, our Heavenly Father, we are surrounded by false teachers, even today. There are so many around us who would have us believe that financial or political power are the only things that matter in this life. I pray that you will protect me from Satan and all that is evil so that your Holy Spirit can fill my heart and walk through life with me. Amen.

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3:43 pm          Comments

Thursday, April 10, 2008

1 Timothy 5:1-25

Paul has much to say in this chapter about how Timothy ought to treat the people in need in his congregation.

In our modern days, there are various names for these caring funds for people in need. Names such as Pastor's Benevolence Fund or Good Samaritan Fund or other names for funds that are specifically set aside by the congregation and given over to the pastor to use at his sole discretion to assist people in need.
 
But first Paul outlines how people are to treat individuals in the church.

For instance, older men are to be treated kindly, as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

This goes back to Levitical law, for in Leviticus 19:32 we read: You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.

Then Paul describes three different kinds of widows in verses 3-6:

the widow who is over 60 years of age who have some family support,
the widow who is over 60 years of age and stranded without support,
and the widow who is under 60 years of age

Then, in verse 7 Paul says: Give the people these instructions, too, so that no one may be open to blame. If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Even in our present day, with all our charities and supportive organizations, there are still people in need who "fall through the cracks." Better to rely on churches within a community to help those in need for it is most frequent that the church members know who is in need -- who is hungry -- who is struggling financially.

Paul admonishes Timothy to reach out and care for those people but he does suggest certain restrictions.

One of those restrictions has to do with widows who are under the age of 60. Those widows are not to be put on any list of widows in need. However, widows over 60 are providing they have been faithful wives, have done good deeds, has brought up her children, has shown hospitality, has helped those in trouble, and has washed the feet of the saints. (verses 9-10)

Well, that's a good list for sure, but I'm not sure about offering to wash other people's feet. That was a cultural deed and it was common back in the days when people walked in sandals across dry, dusty roads to get from one place to another. How soothing it must have been to offer someone the refreshment of soaking his feet after a hike of some five miles or so.

And as far as the younger widows were concerned, Paul said that they shouldn't be put on the list of widows in need. In verse 11b, he even goes so far as to say that if their runaway passions get the better of them, they should get married again. (Those are my words, not Paul's.)

Paul expresses the opinion that the younger widows ought not to go from house to house, kind of like coffee klatching. They shouldn't be idle gossipers or busybodies, saying things they ought not to say (verse 13)

Those are good words even today, don't you think? Idle gossiping can get a person in trouble when the truth gets stretched and get stretched. And pretty soon, hyperbole catches up with a person and the next thing you know, the stories don't resemble truth anymore. That was a major concern of Paul's. He thought women ought to be busy. And if they got added to a widow's list, they'd get money and there would be no motivation for widows to remarry, have children and manage a home.

After all, Paul says in verse 14b-15: ...give the enemy no opportunity to slander. Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.

Paul adds in verse 16: If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she should help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.

Now, you can be sure that Paul wasn't talking about chipping in to make a $1500 mortgage payment, or buy a lot of convenience foods. Those kinds of things just didn't happen back in those days. There were no mortgages. And the food that people ate was pretty much primary foods. There were no refrigerators to keep meats cool for several days. No deep freezes to put food up for the times past the harvest. And they didn't have screw on lids for glass jars so there wasn't any canning going on. Women had to work hard to keep food on the table.

I personally think the women in those days must have been awfully resourceful to be able to feed everybody. And can you imagine life without ice cream?

So the women in the family were supposed to look in on the widows and tend to what she may have needed. That way, the benevolence fund could be available for people who didn't have someone to tend to them.

Then Paul comes to the matter of the elders. These were men who directed the affairs of the church and they were deserving of double honor. (verse 17)

Matthew Henry brings us these profound words: The ministers of the gospel are described by the work of their office, which is to serve and honour the Lord. It is their duty not only to give good counsel, but also to warn the flock of dangers, and reprove for whatever may be amiss. The people should honour and love their ministers, because their business is the welfare of men's souls. And the people should be at peace among themselves, doing all they can to guard against any differences. But love of peace must not make us wink at sin. The fearful and sorrowful spirit, should be encouraged, and a kind word may do much good. We must bear and forbear. We must be long-suffering, and keep down anger, and this to all men. Whatever man do to us, we must do good to others.
http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=60&source=2&seq=i.59.5.3

Paul gives Timothy instructions as to ordaining elders to ministers in verse 22: Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.

A footnote in my Concordia Study Bible for this verse 22 says: Paul is speaking of the ordination of an elder, which should not be performed until the candidate has had time to prove himself.

Even today, we offer a vicarage to prospective pastors prior to the time they are assigned a pulpit of their own.

The reference to drinking wine in verse 23 could be attributed to the possibility that pure drinking water may not have been readily available for Timothy in that area. And Paul also makes a reference to Timothy's having stomach problems and frequent illnesses. We don't get any details as to what these maladies might have been, but Paul suggests that Timothy "stop drinking only water and use a little wine."

Paul closes this chapter with the warning to be ever-vigilant to sin in verses 24-25: The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not cannot be hidden.

The footnote on page 1855 of the Concordia Study Bible says that this advice is to be alert to hidden sins as well s to good deeds in the lives of candidates for ordination. 

Discussion:

Calling a pastor to lead a congregation is a many-stepped process in this day and age. Talk about how our present-day call committee process differs from that of the early church.

Imagine the challenges that Paul faced and see how you can list these challenges. For instance, we know that Paul went on three missionary journeys and during these journeys, he established churches. Even if these churches were small groups of new believers who met in people's homes, they were churches, nonetheless.

Then came the time when the groups grew into larger and larger groups of believers. Then it most clearly showed a need to have a shepherd for these new flocks -- someone who could be the leader -- a pastor and a teacher. Paul could certainly not be the pastor for each and every church he started.

As you go through this chapter and read what Paul's thoughts were, how does that compare with how you select a new pastor in your church?

Also talk about the charities within the church in Paul's day. Do you think his view on the younger widows seems harsh?

We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for your kindness and goodness in all the ways you bless my life. I pray that you will show me where the need is when people cross the path of my everyday life. Help me care for the people you put in my life and I pray that you will continue to bless me with strength to do your will.

I pray for all the missionaries around the world that they will be ever renewed and fresh to bring the gospel message of salvation to people who do not know you or your son, Jesus Christ.

I pray for all the pastors in churches everywhere who also do in-city mission work. Their mission work is certainly not to be overlooked in its importance either. I pray that you would bless their ministry that opens up to unbelievers in their towns and cities who have heard about your son, but who do not worship Jesus Christ. Amen.

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6:06 pm          Comments

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

1 Timothy 4:1-16

This chapter appears to be directed to Timothy for the purpose of building him up, of encouraging him and of enhancing his self-confidence.

From the beginning verse, I hear Paul warning Timothy that the Spirit says in later times some believers will abandon their faith and will be coaxed into lives taught by demons.

These "later times" have a footnote in my Concordia Study Bible on page 1853 that says it refers to the time beginning with the first coming of Christ. That Paul is not referring only to the time immediately prior to Christ's second coming is obvious from his assumption that the false teachings were already present at the time of his writing.

These false teachings, Paul warns, come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. (verse 2)

Matthew Henry says, "We have a cunning adversary, who watches to do mischief, and will promote errors, even by the words of Scripture. Whatever uncertainty we are in, or whatever mistakes may arise about the time of Christ's coming, that coming itself is certain.

"This has been the faith and hope of all Christians, in all ages of the church; it was the faith and hope of the Old Testament saints. All believers shall be gathered together to Christ, to be with him, and to be happy in his presence forever.

"...False doctrines are like the winds that toss the water to and fro; and they unsettle the minds of men, which are as unstable as water.

"It is enough for us to know that our Lord will come, and will gather all his saints unto him. A reason why they should not expect the coming of Christ, as at hand, is given. There would be a general falling away first, such as would occasion the rise of Antichrist, that man of sin.

"There have been great disputes who or what is intended by this man of sin and son of perdition. The man of sin not only practices wickedness, but also promotes and commands sin and wickendness in others; and is the son of perdition, because he is devoted to certain destruction, and is the instrument to destroy many others, both in soul and body."
http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=61&source=2&seq=i.60.2.1

I can hear Paul warning Timothy, the young shepherd, to be especially careful with his flock of new believers lest the evil one should get in among the sheep and start stealing them away.

Some of the lies that these false teachers would use might include a claim that people ought not to marry -- or that they shouldn't eat certain foods. These very foods have been created by none other than God himself and everything that God creates is good for it is received with thanksgiving because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. (see verses 3-5) 

Matthew Henry's commentary reveals this: "Those who would learn the things of God, and be assured of them, must know the Holy Scriptures, for they are the Divine revelation. The age of children is the age to learn; and those who would get true learning, must get it out of the Scriptures. They must not lie by us neglected, seldom or never looked into. The Bible is a sure guide to eternal life. The prophets and apostles did not speak from themselves, but delivered what they received of God."
http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=63&source=2&seq=i.62.3.3

Paul tells Timothy in verses 7b-8: ...[T]rain yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

And the following message is as much alive for Timothy as it is for all of us today: This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe. (verses 9-10)

Then Paul assures Timothy that he should not let people look down on him just because he is young. Instead, Timothy ought to set an example by the way he leads his life, by how he talks, and how he conducts himself where faith and love is concerned. (verses 11-12)

Paul must have had every intention to come to Timothy again because he tells Timothy to devote himself to public reading of Scripture, to preaching and teaching and not to neglect the gift that was given to Timothy when the elders laid their hands on Timothy to ordain him. (verses 13-14)

Paul's advice was for Timothy to be diligent and watchful so that everyone will see the progress that Timothy is making. He closes this chapter with these watchful words (verse 16): Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

I have a footnote that underscores this last verse: "God alone saves, but Christians can be God's instruments to bring about the salvation of others. We are saved by God's grace at the time of conversion but are still being saved in the sense of being made more conformed to Christ's image. (Concordia Study Bible, page 1853)

Discussion:

As both teacher and mentor, Paul had much to say to Timothy. And it's safe to say that the excitement of Paul's hopeful visit to Timothy in Ephesus would have been felt by them both.

This chapter is filled with good advice for Timothy about a number of things. Talk about the undercurrent of discontent and evil that was running through Ephesus. Even by today's standards, Ephesus was a bustling metropolis of about 200,000 people.

We also know that there was a brisk trade in making idols to sell and the artisans who made these idols were not too happy with Paul for bringing the gospel message of Jesus Christ that made these idol worshipers turn away from their idols.

Talk about these were times of courage and bravery for the new Christians.

We pray: Oh Lord, I thank you for all your gifts and blessings in my life, but especially I thank you for the most important gift of all -- salvation that will bring me life eternal.

I pray that your Spirit will guide me through all my days and will show me how I can glorify your name.

I pray for all Christians everywhere that they will be safe. Amen.

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7:42 pm          Comments

1 Timothy 3:1-16

No one person can do all things. And for this reason, Paul defines the duties of someone he refers to as an "overseer."

This is an important person in a congregation. The overseer is the one who teaches and preaches the word of God. It's the person who is trusted with the tasks of being the shepherd of the flock. It's the person who is conducting the business affairs of the church and it is the person who guards the church from errors. "Overseer" is often used interchangeably with the term "elder." (Concordia Study Bible, footnote on page 1852 for verse 3:1.)

This is a noble task, Paul says in verse 1. And there are certain traits for those who would aspire to this task. They include being above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, being self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent or quarrelsome, not a lover of money (verses 2-3)

And Paul is going to be looking at how a man manages his family because if he can't manage his family, he's not likely to do well with the congregation. The overseer's children should treat the father with respect. (verses 4-5)

Paul didn't think it would be a good idea to entrust a recent convert with this noble task either. In verse 6, Paul says that a new convert might become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.

In verse 7, Paul adds: He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.

Paul outlines the parameters to which he would hold the office of deacons in verses 8-10: Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.

In the months before his execution by the Nazis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, "I fear that Christians who stand with only one leg upon earth, also stand with only one leg in heaven." His concern was for Christians who had disengaged themselves from the world, who could stand by and watch atrocities committed as if the Christian message or individual Christian responsibility had no bearing whatsoever upon earthly affairs.

Matthew Henry has a profound commentary about these verses: The fact of the matter is that the Christian faith intends full engagement in the world. Certainly the origin of this new life is otherworldly. Certainly Christian values are not those of the world. Certainly Christian hope takes us beyond this world. But it is in this world that God has called Christians to live, and it is this world's inhabitants that Christians must reach with the gospel. Engagement of this kind requires Christian credibility and participation in the life of the world.

Credibility especially depends on living, as far as possible, in a manner that the world considers to be respectable. "Respectability" was an important concept in Paul's day. But the values connected with it have always been subject to change. Therefore, the Christian life is first and always to be a clear expression of the will of God.

The church's respectability in the world was very much in Paul's mind as he addressed the various groups in the Cretan churches. This is evident from the patterns of behavior he encourages...But Paul does not simply adopt secular rules of behavior. Whatever affinities this lifestyle might have with secular moral ideals, only faith in Christ can produce the Christian.
http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=11&source=2&seq=i.63.2.1

Paul also says that wives are to be women who are worthy of respect, not malicious talkers, but temperate and trustworthy in everything. (verse 11)

Paul then closes this chapter with the hope that he will soon be able to come over to Ephesus to see Timothy. But if, for some reason, he is delayed, he wants to send these lists of how people should behave when they are members of the "household of God," namely, the church. (verses 14-15).

The Paul sends this poetic version of the "mystery of godliness" in verse 16:

He appeared in a body,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory.

This mystery of godliness is the secret that produces piety in people. That secret ... is none other than Jesus Christ. His incarnation, in all its aspects (particularly his saving work), is the source of genuine piety. (Concordia Study Bible, page 1853, footnote for verse 3:16)

Paul gives us a capsule of the life and resurrection of Christ in verse 16. He came down from heaven, he was raised from the dead by the power of the Spirit, angelic hosts ministered to him and pronounced his resurrection, he is preached throughout the world, and finally, was taken up in glory to rejoin his Father in Heaven.

Discussion:

Church workers are generally held to a higher standard of behavior than other people. What are some of these behavioral codes of conduct that come to mind?

Discuss the "mystery of godliness" that Paul mentions in verse 16. The footnote in the Concordia Study Bible ties this with piety. There are three definitions in the dictionary for piety that could be discussed.

These are:

1. a devout fulfillment of religious obligations
2. religious devotion and reverence to God, and
3. loving obedience to the will of God.

Talk about how your life might reflect an attitude of piety.

We pray: Oh Lord, I pray that you would send your Holy Spirit to me so that my heart can grow in devotion and service to your everlasting Word. I thank you for the abundance of your love that you have given to me for I know that I am not worthy, but through the death and resurrection of your son, Jesus Christ, you have made me worthy. Out of that love that you have given to me, I pray that you would help me fulfill a stronger service to you.

I pray for all the people who work in churches all over the world. I pray that you would bless their work as they bring others to know you. I pray also for their safety as they go about their daily tasks. Amen.

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12:26 pm          Comments

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

1 Timothy 2:1-15

In this chapter, Paul continues his instructions for worship.

From this very first verse of this chapter, Paul indicates that prayers are to be an important part of church goer's worship: I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone -- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
(verses 1-4)

Sometimes I think that we often put God on his throne way off in some far distance place in the universe, so remote that he can't possibly be aware of what our prayerful wants might be. Or the fears that tug at our heartstrings and send us into panic mode all too easily.

But here comes Paul who says that we please God when we pray. God wants to hear from us even though he knows what's going on in every little corner of his universe.

It's like a married couple who sit together in the evening. Maybe they're watching television, or maybe they're each reading a favorite book. How much more enriching their relationship becomes when they have an ongoing conversation with each other. It's so much better than sitting all through an evening without saying a word to each other.

God wants those conversations too. He wants us to talk with him. He wants us to listen to him when he ignites that tiny little voice in our head. Sometimes it says, "I wish you hadn't done that." Or maybe he says, "You'll like this."

It reminds me of a youngster I was seeing at the office. She asked me one day if I prayed. And I told her that I did. Then she asked me if God ever answered me. I told that he definitely talked to me when I prayed.

Then she asked, "How do you know it's not your other you?"

We all have an ongoing dialogue in our head. Can you quiet down the noise of your own self-conversation so that you can hear God's answer to your prayers?

The point is, God wants us to have an ongoing conversation with him. That's what prayers are. Conversations. And he answers you. That little voice you hear inside you is not "your other you." It's your soul. That's where God lives inside you -- in your soul.

And when we gather with other believers in worship services, Paul says that it makes God so happy to hear the prayers that we bring to him.

Paul then tells Timothy that there is one God who wants all men to be saved. This is why he sent Jesus Christ to earth. And it is this same Jesus Christ who is our mediator between God and man. Sin goes away because of Christ's death and resurrection. It is salvation that is available to all men on earth -- it's there for the asking.

And like prayerful requests, you have to ask for what you want. Forgiveness is like that -- it's ours for the asking, but we do have to ask.

There may be any number of things that you need. But you are going to have to ask for what you want and need.

Paul then asserts this about himself, in verse 7: And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle -- I am telling the truth, I am not lying -- and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.

Then Paul says he wants men everywhere to lift up their holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.

Then Paul talks about how he wants women to behave when they come to worship. He wants them to dress modesty and don't put a lot of fancy, show-off jewelry on, or braid their hair, or wear pearls and expensive clothes. These are not what Paul considers appropriate things to wear for women who make the claim that they are worshiping God. (verses 9-10)

Matthew Henry offers this: ...A true Christian's chief care lies in right ordering his own spirit. This will do more to fix the affections, and excite the esteem of a husband, than studied ornaments or fashionable apparel, attended by a forward and quarrelsome temper.

Christians ought to do their duty to one another, from a willing mind, and in obedience to the command of God. Wives should be subject to their husbands, not from dread and amazement, but from desire to do well, and please God. The husband's duty to the wife implies giving due respect unto her, and maintaining her authority, protecting her, and placing trust in her.

They are heirs together of all the blessings of this life and that which is to come, and should live peaceably one with another. Prayer sweetens their converse. And it is not enough that they pray with the family, but husband and wife together by themselves, and with their children. Those who are acquainted with prayer find such unspeakable sweetness in it, that they will not be hindered therein...
http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=68&source=2&seq=i.67.3.1

Paul has more to say on his position of what women can and cannot say as he closes this chapter: 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. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing -- if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

My Concordia Study Bible has a footnote for these comments on page 1852: Some believe that Paul here prohibited teaching only by women not properly instructed, i.e., by the women at Ephesus. Such women tended to exercise authority over, i.e., to domineer, the men. According to Lutheran tradition Paul did not allow a woman to be an official teacher in the assembled church. This is indicated by the added restriction concerning "authority over a man."

Discussion:

Enjoy a full discussion of your views of women's behavior in the church worship service. Keep in mind that your agreement, or disagreement for that matter, ought not to rest with the apostle Paul for his pen was directed by none other than God himself.

What roles do women play in your church service?

We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that you would help me grasp the truths of these messages from Paul to Timothy and that as a woman, I can reflect what you would have me say.

I pray that you would bless the study of all who are assembled here on this web site from wherever they may be in the world. Bless their study and their spiritual growth and their prayers.

I pray for all our leaders who govern in various countries. Bless their governing so that it will reflect your will. Amen

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11:56 am          Comments

Monday, April 7, 2008

1 Timothy 1:1-20

We get our first glimpse of Timothy in Acts 16:1-2: [Paul] came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy ived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek.

Remember the story of the man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked, in Acts 14:9-11: He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, "Stand up on your feet!" At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.

When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have come down to us in human form!"

Because of this miracle, many people came to believe in the gospel message that Paul came to preach. And Paul wanted Timothy to travel with him on his journeys. Paul even circumcised Timothy (Acts 16:3) because Timothy's father was Greek and Paul did not want Timothy's uncircumcision to interfere with the conversion of Jewish believers.

And in 1 Timothy 4:14, we will learn that Paul ordained Timothy: Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

Early church tradition has it that St. Paul elevates Timothy to Bishop of Ephesus in 65 A.D. Timothy was martyred. Some say in 80 A.D.;others say it was more like 97 A.D.  because he was trying to stop a parade of idol-bearing worshipers going through the streets the Ephesus. The angry mob beat Timothy and dragged him through the streets until they finally stoned him. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy

So we have now set the stage to learn more about Paul's writing to his beloved spiritual son, Timothy.

Paul writes his last three letters, which we call The Pastoral Letters. In this order, Paul writes the first letter to Timothy, then a letter to Titus, and finally, a second letter to Timothy. 

Paul has been released from his Roman imprisonment when he writes this first letter to Timothy.

To give you an idea of how dear he holds Timothy, Paul refers to Timothy as my true son in the faith (verse 2).

It seems obvious that Paul has both admiration and confidence in Timothy's abilities for Paul left Timothy in Ephesus. Paul was on his way to Macedonia but there was still much work to be done in the Ephesian churches. (verse 3)

Paul tells Timothy in verse 3b-4: Stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work -- which is by faith.

In verses 6-7, Paul attacks the teachings of heresy and general know-it-alls who are running around Ephesus hoping to tear up the churches Paul had set up and filled with new believers of the gospel message of Jesus Christ: Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

Well, well. Just in case you wondered what Paul thought about those goings-on, those verses ought to clear that up for you!

Paul then lists some grievous sins that he finds most unpalatable, including murder, adultery, perversions, slave traders, liars and perjurers and "anything else that is contrary to sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the Blessed God, which he entrusted to me." (see verses 8-11)

Paul then reiterates his biography of how he came to be appointed to the service of our Lord Jesus Christ. And in verses 15-16, Paul adds: Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners -- of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

That message is not just for Timothy -- and it's not just about Paul. Each one of us has a cloud over our biography. And it's because of that sinful cloud that Christ came down from heaven where he sat in full glory next to his Father. He came down here to save us. He came down here to walk among us as a man. Jesus Christ had unlimited patience with Paul, and he has unlimited patience with us.

Jesus Christ has more patience with us than we have with ourselves. There's a powerful message for all of us in this first chapter of Paul's letter to Timothy: Jesus Christ forgives the worst of sinners and he has unlimited patience.

But there are two men that Paul wants to kick out of the church. Apparently these two -- Hymenaeus and Alexander -- have been blaspheming against the Lord. (verse 20)

Hymenaeus was a heretic who denied belief in the resurrection. He was going around Ephesus telling people that resurrection happened in a spiritual sense at the moment a person was born. This view was also shared by Alexander, a coppersmith. http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/hymenaeus.html

So Paul tells Timothy that he is giving these two men up to Satan. My Concordia Study Bible makes this note on page 1850: Paul had excluded these two men from the church, which was considered a sanctuary from Satan's power. Out in the world, away from the fellowship and care of the church, they would be "taught" (the word means basically "to discipline") not to blaspheme. The purpose of such drastic action was more remedial than punitive.

Discussion: Think about the clouds over yourself that may be too much of a sin.

Can you forgive yourself? And can you accept God's forgiveness?

When we read these early stories about the travels of the apostle Paul and he traveled here and there setting up churches, what do you think would have been the hardest part for Paul?

No telephone. No cars with automatic transmissions. No camels with headlights. No Visa and MasterCard. Lots of highway robbers who'd be only too glad to take anything you had of value on your person.

And yet Paul walked thousands of miles on his missionary gospel journeys.

We pray: Oh Lord, I thank you for the gift of forgiveness and I wonder anew at your love for me, a poor sinner. And yet the clouds of sin over my head are gone by one act of forgiveness that brings grace to me from your love. I thank you for that. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

I pray that you would send your Holy Spirit to me to refresh my faith as I study you word. And I pray that those who study your Word here will also be refreshed by your Spirit. Amen.

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4:14 pm          Comments

Friday, April 4, 2008

Ephesians 6:1-24

Paul is about ready to close this letter to the Ephesians. It's widely believed that this was a circuit letter. That is, it was intended to be read at the various churches in and around the Ephesus area. Physically, it's being carried by one of Paul's fellow ministers, Tychicus. Personal transport was the only way to get news from here to there back in those days.

As he opens this chapter, Paul has a strong message for children, in verses 1-3: Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother -- which is the first commandment with a promise -- that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.

This is a restatement of Exodus 20:12: Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

And Leviticus 19:3: Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and you shall keep my Sabbaths: I am the Lord your God.

Paul had something to say to the parents too, in verse 4: Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Now, you wouldn't think this verse 4 would hardly need to be spoken. After all, these were new believers who were anxious to do the right thing. These were new believers who were able to walk and talk with people who had actually known Jesus Christ, who had sat at Christ's table, who walked the pathways along the lakes with Christ. They must have been filled with deep love for their families.

Well, folks, human nature is what it is. And I have no doubt that there were dysfunctional families even back then.

Even when Mary and Martha had invited Jesus to come into their home for dinner and Martha was busy in the kitchen. I can just visualize all that flour flying around, and the smells of spices and food cooking, and wonderful pots-and-pan sounds that arouse anticipation of a meal about to be put on the table. Then Martha got it in her head that Mary ought to be helping her out a bit instead of sitting around listening to Jesus talking. When Martha complained, Jesus, in essence told her to quit whining. (Luke 10:38-42)

So life was not always skipping along, even in Jesus' presence.

So Paul tells parents not to exasperate their children. Interesting choice of words, don't you think? Exasperate doesn't mean to just irritate. Nope. It's beyond irritating. Exasperateoften provokes hostilities and violence.

Believe me, there's a lot of exasperating going on in unhappy families. Oh, for sure, children often have anxieties for a lot of other reasons -- bullies at school or in the neighborhood will cause anxieties and unhappiness -- fear of parents getting a divorce will create great anxieties in children. But there frequently were children who were brought in by their parents for counseling who really needed to build on top of the good foundational skills they already had. Ephesians 6:4 was where we started because anxious, unhappy children are often exasperated children.

Paul says not to exasperate. Instead, bring your children up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Nowadays, we would say take them to church and Sunday School. Read them Bible stories about Bible heroes for their bedtime reading. Help them memorize Bible verses.

Paul also has similar admonitions for slaves and slaveholders as well. In these verses, Paul sets up a kind of "fly on the wall" way of thinking when he tells the slaves to serve as if they were serving Jesus, not their masters. And the masters ought to reward everyone for the good they do, whether they are free servants or slaves. After all, he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him. (verse 9b)

So Jesus is in heaven. He's watching all of us. He was watching the servants, slaves, and masters. And as far as Jesus was concerned, they were all men who would one day come through the pearly gates and they wouldn't have any earthly status or wealth then. Judgement would be about how they treated each other, how they fellowshiped with one another, whether they exasperated each other, whether they offended each other, whether they threatened each other, whether they were churned up hate among themselves. 

Jesus would not be showing any favoritism, Paul says. So just put the bossy attitude away. It may work for a while down here on earth, but that's not your last resting place, so take great care about how you interact with your fellow earth creatures.

Now comes one of Paul's great metaphors. In verses 11-12, he says: Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

"Heavenly realms" is another curious term that Paul uses. In fact, he makes five references to the heavenly realms in this letter to the Ephesians: Eph. 1:3; 1:20; 2:6; 3:10; and 6:12.

And if you were to google "heavenly realms," you'd find 366,000 pages referenced to this topic. Books have been written about these realms. The early church fathers divided them up into layers that are supposedly governed by specifically assigned angels having different authorities and tasks assigned by God.
 
But Paul doesn't give us any specific details about angels residing and ruling in any particular layer of the heavenly realms. Paul is silent about this, yet he repeats the reference to heavenly realms often enough to cause me to wonder why he brought it up at all.
 
That's up pretty high on the list of questions I'm going to ask when I get to heaven. Somewhere it says in the Bible that all things will be made known, so I'm looking forward to finding out some things about the heavenly realms when I get there.

But this armor of God is outlined in verses 14-17:

Belt of truth buckled around your waist
Breastplate of righteousness in place
with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace
shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one
helmet of salvation
sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

In verse 18, Paul admonishes: Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Paul made some references to this armor of God in his other letters:

1 Corinthians 6:7 -- by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left;

1 Thessalonians 5:8 -- But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

Isaiah had references to this also:

Isaiah 11:5 -- Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.

Isaiah 59:17 -- He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.

And Paul said, Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

And Paul then closes this most powerful of his epistles to the people in churches in and around Ephesus.

Paul's letter to the Ephesians is one of my favorites of all Paul's letters. It was the subject of a research project that I completed for a theology course when I was in grad school at Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois. Each of us students could select any book of the New Testament (except Jude). Our assignment was to differentiate and explain all the doxologies and catechises in the books we'd chosen. Ephesians is one of the most powerful letters that Paul wrote, in my view. It's six chapters are power-packed. I've read the letter and re-read the letter many times and each time, I'm left with a new appreciation for all that Paul did. 

What a warrior for Christ!

Discussion: 

There are a number of discussion points you could focus on from this chapter alone. First, you might talk about how, as parents, you could edify your children. Talk about what it means to "exasperate" your children and how you can strengthen your parenting skills, if you need to.

Talk about the heavenly realms. What do you think Paul meant by this term. Make sure you keep your discussions grounded in Biblical truth. There's all kinds of curious teachings about what this term means, so be very careful. If you still have questions, ask your pastor or priest to guide you through your study.

And finally, copy down the armor of Christ and commit it to memory. Be ever mindful of the need to put on this armor each and every day. Make it part of your morning routine.

Many of you have apparently gotten into the habit of finding this Bible Study early in the mornings. I'm guessing that you're doing this before you head out the door for work. And there are just as many others who come to this study later in the day, and into the evenings. I thank God for you and I pray that your study of the Word of God will be enriched. 

Of all the pages on this web site, the Bible Study gets far more hits than any other. About ten to one. That says there's a tremendous hunger for God's word. I thank you for joining me. And like Paul, I ask that you pray for me so that I can continue to build you up as a teacher.

We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for this wonderful opportunity to study your Word with freedom here in the United States. And I pray for safety for those who are studying the Bible in far away places that are not so safe. 

I thank you for your servant Paul and for the wisdom he brings to us through the Holy Spirit who guided his hand as he wrote these letters to the early churches.

In verse 18, Paul says to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Help me to remember that I can bring any request to you in prayer and I pray for your continued blessings for me and Quint, and for our children and grandchildren as well. I pray that you will keep us all safe as we go about our daily lives. Amen.
 
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10:52 am          Comments

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Ephesians 5:22-33

Women who read these verses and say they're not going to "obey" their husband somehow get to that point out of Paul's use of the word "submit."

So listen to what Paul says in verses 22-24: 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. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

This "submit" that Paul is talking about is a reiteration of what he said in verse 21: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Submit
, in one of the seven dictionary definitions, means to yield to the power or authority of another; whereas obey means to follow the commands, restrictions, wishes or instructions of another. Submission also means to present for the approval or consideration of another.

I like to talk about this submission business with couples who come for marriage counseling. This business about submitting is not an awful thing for men and women in their relationship. After all, submitting wasn't so bad when couples were on their honeymoons, or in the newlywed years of their marriage. Submitting is downright fun when we are passionately eager to please one another.

There are many ways that we submit to one another in a healthy relationship. Husbands submit to their wives too. So often, it's the lady of the house who manages the purse strings -- who write the checks, pay the bills, balance the budget. There's a lot of interdependence going on when it comes to family finances, and there's also a lot of submission with one another too.

In many many couples, it's the wife who doles out the spending money. The lunch money. The running money. Call it what you like, but come payday, the check goes in the bank and in the majority of families, it's the woman in the relationship who manages the discretionary income after she pays the bills.

So who's submitting? Is the husband submitting because he gets the money from his wife? Or are they acting on a pre-arranged agreement they have about the money?

My point is, Paul was not talking about a woman becoming a slave to her husband, but rather, that she submit to him. And when there is a lot of love going on between a man and a woman, there isn't this hang-up about the word "submit" because the relationship has to do with each wanting to please the other.

And when we love one another, we want to please. And when we want to please, submitting is not a big deal. In good marriage relationships, it happens all the time. There's a lot of cross-submission and cross-love and it has nothing to do with losing your identity.

In a marriage, two people become one. If you've worked it right, you can't tell where you leave off and your spouse begins, because your marriage relationship has an identity of its own. It's an entity that both the husband and wife, as social engineers, create and give life to out of their love for one another.

Paul goes on to say that husbands ought to love their wives just like Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her ... (verse 25a).

Notice that this sacrifice is called upon for the husband, even to the extreme point of dying for his wife if need be. Such an extreme expression of devotion is not called upon for the wife, though. But Paul is saying that husbands ought to be willing to guard and protect their wives, even to shield them with their lives if need be.

Paul continues to talk about this most glorious love between a husband and a wife and likens is to the great love that Christ had for the church, in verses 25b-27: ...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.

That's how husbands ought to love their wives, Paul says in verse 28b.

And here's a final thought for the married couple in verse 31: For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.

Paul says this is a profound mystery. We don't understand how God makes this happen and Paul's analogy to the earthly marriage of a man and woman does not compare to the pure and holy love that Christ has for the church and likens the church to Christ's "bride." But the two types of marriages are not even remotely equal. 

However, marriage is the most intimate of human relationships. And it is the most powerful human love that we know, for out of this married love comes the creation of children.

Paul uses the comparison of this powerful love that men and women have for one another in their marriage as an echo of the love that Christ has for the church. (Concordia Study Bible, page 1312, footnote for verse 32.)

Discussion:

These particular verses usually elicit some excited comments. In your group discussions, talk about the different ways that men and women try to please each other in their marriages. When we are eager to please someone because we love them, aren't we being submissive?

We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for the blessings of a wonderful Christian marriage. I pray that all people everywhere could have honor and respect in their marriages, for out of that comes the most profound joy.

I pray that you would bless again the marriages that have been avowed before your altars around the world. Keep husbands and wives safe within their love for each other. I lift them all in prayer. Amen.

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11:30 am          Comments

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ephesians 5:1-21

We were out walking the other day and as we came around the corner on Third Street, there was the unmistakable aroma of steaks grilling. There's just nothing else that has the saliva pumping aroma for all us beef eaters.

God likes that aroma too. In fact, back in the old days, he said the aroma was fragrant and when the beef was sacrificed on the altars of the early Israelites, it was a fragrance pleasing to God. This is what God said in Genesis 8:21 -- And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, "I will never again curse the ground because of man..."

Paul opens this chapter with the words, Be imitators of God... (verse 1a). My Concordia Study Bible says in the footnote for this verse on page 1810: "One way of imitating God is to have a forgiving spirit.

That was how Paul closed the fourth chapter: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (4:32).

Paul peppers that word -- forgiveness -- all through his writings. In fact, he talks about it so much you'd think it had some kind of ultra-importance. If you think that, you'd be correct.

Your mental health depends on your being a forgiving person. But more important than that, it is God's command that you be a forgiving person. Forgive others just like God forgives us. And we're going to hear in just a few verses that God's wrath comes to those who are disobedient. (verse 6b)

The problem is, we are all too willing to forgive people we love. We can forgive people we care about. But what about those people who don't measure up to how we think they ought to behave? What about those people who are mean and hurt us, on purpose, we think? What about that?

Take a hint from Jesus Christ. When he was hanging there on the cross -- for the forgiveness of our sins -- did he look down at those Roman soldiers and say to his Father in heaven, "I want you to forgive all these people milling around down there except those mean Roman guys who beat me and made me drag that stupid cross through the streets. How humiliating is that!? Don't forgive them. They don't deserve forgiveness."

But no. Christ lifted this prayer to his Father in heaven, "Forgive them. They don't know what they're doing."

Maybe your parents let you down when you were a little kid. Maybe your neighbor is a jerk. Maybe people have been so mean to you that you've literally built a prison inside your heart.

The time has come to let all that go. You will never know peace until you let all that pain and suffering and anguish go. In fact, you have to be careful that you don't make an idol out of your pain. If you are hanging onto the pains of your past, then it is separating you from God because of your unforgiving heart. In that case, it has, indeed, become an idol.

Oh, not an idol in the sense that you worship your anguish, but an idol because you've put it in a special little hidden place where you go and nurture it in your quiet moments. You do this by reminding yourself of how much you deserve to feel the way you do. That's just like giving a piece of corn to a silly chicken. You're feeding your pain when you revisit all those old, moldy memories.

Maintaining an unforgiving heart. How's that working for you? Just remember that anger multiplies misery. Doesn't count for much except for its self-destructiveness.
Instead, take Paul's words to heart in verse 2: ...live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Then there's this list of things we are supposed to stay away from:

Not even a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity
No greed, because these are improper for God's holy people
No obscenities, foolish talk or coarse joking

Instead, be thankful for the gifts you have

Don't let people fool you with their empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. So don't partner up with these fools.

Gee, I wonder if God is watching the politicians running around making all kinds of foolish, empty claims about how great they are? I wonder if they realize that God is watching them. Listening to them.

Empty lies are just that. They're not okay just because it's the "silly season" in the presidential campaign, and political rhetoric is not like a real lie.

Don't kid yourself. Stay away from liars and people who shout obscenities. They'll drag you down to their level and you don't want to go to those low depths.

In fact, Paul says in verses 8-10: For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.

Paul made lists and lists of what pleases the Lord. And he shared these lists in his letters to the young churches.

And then there's this hint that Paul gave to the Thessalonians in 1 Thess. 2:4 -- but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.

And Matthew Henry says: This is the great motive to sincerity, to consider that God not only sees all we do, but knows our thoughts afar off, and searches the heart. And it is from this God who trieth our hearts, that we must receive our reward. (http://sitebuilder.myregisteredsite.com/sitebuilder/f_edit_page.html)

Paul goes on to say, in verses 15-17: Be very careful, then, how you live -- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.

And just in case the Ephesians might have forgotten what the Lord's will is, Paul tells them again in this list:

Do not get drunk on wine (which leads to debauchery)

Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

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.

And then, in verse 21: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Discussion: Have you ever had someone who hurt you so much that you thought you'd never be able to forgive him/her?

Did you ever get past that? If you did, then how did you feel?

Do you forgive some things but not others? Can you understand, in your heart, why it matters to you if you're hanging on to old stuff?

God knows what's in your hearts. We are his creation and you can just bet that he did not allow any little secret places to exist where even one little thought or idea can be hidden away from him. And if you are still hurting, he knows that, even if you don't know why.

So if you ask him, he'll tell you. Then you'll be free of all that anguish.

We pray: Dear Father in Heaven, more than anything in this world, I would love to be free of all that pain. It's time that I finally let it go. But I know -- and this is the part that scares me -- when I clean it out of my heart, there'll be this big empty space that I don't know what to do with. Can you help me? I ask that you send your Holy Spirit into my heart to help me clean out all the dusty corners so that I can live my life completely for you. Amen.

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12:32 pm          Comments

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ephesians 4:17-32

Paul continues the theme of unity with each other in this letter. We had learned earlier in this chapter that each of us has a specific task to do in building the church. Each of us has been given a specific and unique gift that will enable us to do this. By using these gifts and building up the church, we then share with one another a place in the body of Christ.

I liken this as some of us doing the footwork. Others are the spine that hold the structure up administratively. Some are the hands that answer the need for the calls of service. And when we have all gotten together, and we have our separate gift-driven service, then we mold ourselves into the body of Christ. We become an assembly of believers, a congregation, a communion of worshipers. But what would the body be without a head to give it purpose?

That purpose of our unity comes from Christ who is the head of the church (see verse 15).

So now Paul continues with a list of what to do which will help us mature as members of the church. He tells us how to mature in our faith.

First of all, when we come to this new faith, when we become believers, we can't live like we used to. Or, as Paul put it, as the Gentiles do (see verse 17).

Paul reminds the Ephesians that the Gentiles were separated from God because of their own ignorance and their hardened hearts. His message is just as meaningful for us today as it was for the Gentiles back in the days of the early church in that first century.

We're not going to be insensitive to others anymore.

We're not going to give in to the passionate pleasures that have ignited all our self-indulgences. Today is a new day. We wake up each morning with the pleasure of God's glory pulsing through our veins and shining through us. No mistakes in the day yet.

How far can you get into your day with no mistakes in it? Can you make it til noon? Maybe four o'clock? Get as far as you can go. It's about striving to get as far as you can go to resist the temptations of indulgences you used to play with (see verses 18-19).

Surely you heard of [Christ] and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (verses 21-24).

Paul was a bit more specific in his letter to the Colossians (3:8) -- But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

Where Paul said to "put these things away," Matthew Henry said to "mortify them."

Mortify is a powerful word. Basically it means to discipline your body by self-denial, or the second definition is to hold within limits and control.

So here's what Mr. Henry has to say: It is our duty to mortify our members which incline to the things of the world. Mortify them, kill them, suppress them, as weeds or vermin which spread and destroy all about them.

Continual opposition must be made to all corrupt workings, and no provision made for carnal indulgences. Occasions of sin must be avoided: the lusts of the flesh, and the love of the world; and covetousness, which is idolatry; love of present good, and of outward enjoyments.

It is necessary to mortify sins, because if we do not kill them, they will kill us.

The gospel changes the higher as well as the lower powers of the soul, and supports the rule of right reason and conscience, over appetite and passion. There is now no difference from country, or conditions and circumstances of life.

It is the duty of every one to be hold, because Christ is a Christian's All, his only Lord and Saviour, and all his hope and happiness.

http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=59&source=2&seq=i.58.3.2

And continuing with Paul's list, he says that we must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbors, for we are all members of one body. (verse 25)

And then there's that matter of anger. So perhaps you've made it all the way through your day mistake-free, but then something sets you off after supper. Now you're mad. Paul has special advice for you in verses 26 and 27: In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

I am reminded of the anger management workshops I used to conduct at South Suburban College. Frequently, there would be people coming in from the nearby Sixth District Court for a little anger personality rehab, so to speak. Anger got them into trouble. More than that -- anger led them to sin when they poked somebody in the nose and left them in a bloody heap of human flesh on a bar room floor.

Those were the ones who would try to shift the blame for their anger to someone who set them off. You may have heard them. They say, "Well he made me mad."

To that I would say, "No one makes you angry." Other people arouse the anger that's already there. What you have to do -- and what we are going to learn to do --  is get rid of the anger that's hiding inside you. Then you'll know peace."

"Well, that's not possible," they'd say.

"Sure it is. Let me give you an example. For instance, there's nothing you can do to me that would make me angry with you. And why is that? Because I'm not an angry person. There's no anger in me for you to arouse."

A few hours later, there would be a calming come over the class. Oh, I couldn't accommodate all that mortification, as Matthew Henry would say, in a few hours. But there were always some who wanted to know more about that inner peace. How to get it. How to keep it.

I wish I'd known more about Matthew Henry back then. I would have told them they had to mortify their anger. They would have liked that.

But the apostle Paul tells us to be sure that anger doesn't lead us into sin. And there's a whole bunch of ways that this can happen. Somehow when people get angry with one another, they think they suddenly have the right to get even, to hurt the other person, to take advantage of them.

That's when you could ruin a perfectly good, mistake-free day. That's why Paul warns us in verse 27 not to give the devil a foothold.

Or, as Matthew Henry said, it's our duty to make sure that doesn't happen.

I have a cross reference to James 4:7 -- Submit yourselves therefor to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

This resistance works because Satan is a big fat ugly slob. He's lazy and if you resist -- especially if you have prayed for help from the Holy Spirit -- the devil will go off somewhere to an easier target. He'd just as soon spend the least amount of energy possible to get through his workday. And if you resist him, he'll find someone else who won't.

Continuing with Paul's list of ways we grow and mature our faith, he says in verse 29: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Paul just described what it's like to be charming. Charming people can always find something good to say about other people. They'll walk up to you and say something like, "That's a really good color on you." Or "I like that tie."

Quint said that one day to our youngest son, Dean, and he took off the tie and gave it to his dad. Quint wore it to church last Sunday and every time he wears that tie, we both smile and remember Dean.

Charming people. They can always think of something good to say. They build us up. They do it so often, and they do it so well that it becomes part of their nature. They are edifiers.

And in verse 30, Paul says: Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Paul had written in his first letter to the Thessalonians (5:19) -- Do not quench the Spirit.

Matthew Henry says: Christians are said to be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

He worketh as fire, by enlightening, enlivening, and purifying the souls of men. As fire is put out by taking away fuel, and as it is quenched by pouring water, or putting a great deal of earth upon it; so we must be careful not to quench the Holy Spirit by indulging carnal lusts and affections, minding only earthly things.

Believers often hinder their growth in grace by not giving themselves up to the spiritual affections raised in their hearts by the Holy Spirit.

...We must search the Scriptures...We should abstain from sin, and whatever looks like sin, leads to it, and borders upon it...

http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=60&source=2&seq=i.59.5.4

And here's the rest of the list inverse 31-32: Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

One of these days I'm going to do a little mini-series on forgiveness. You need to understand that forgiveness is an active verb. It means you choose to forgive. When we are able to become a forgiving person, we find ourselves more and more at peace. And yes, our mental well-being relies on our being, or becoming, forgiving persons. After all, God knows what he's talking about when he says he wants us to forgive each other.

Discussion:

Make a list of all the things that you are able to resist doing today that would have led you to sin.

Do something unexpectedly nice and edifying to someone today.

Do something nice for yourself -- something that would make you feel like the valuable person that you are.

We pray: Oh Lord, I thank you for giving me the gift of your Spirit to guide me and work with me and support me as I go through each day of my life.

I especially pray for all the people here in the United States and around the world as well who are enduring the horrors of flooding. I pray for safety for all those who are put in harm's way when they confront the destructive power of water. I pray that you will be with them and comfort them as many who will have to build their lives over again.

I say a special prayer for Leslie this morning. Her husband dropped a car axle on his right hand and broke two fingers. Leslie -- who already was the caregiver for her widowed father, and is the mother of two children under the age of 10 -- must now stretch her love and her endurance yet farther as she ministers to her husband who must go through surgery to fix broken bones. I pray for strength and compassion for Leslie and her family. I pray that your son, Jesus Christ, the Divine Healer, will guide the physicians and surgeons who care for Leslie's husband Tony. Amen.

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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 States

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 his valuable
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
couldn't have.'

                                'Atheists are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in Chula Vista [California]. At least
there 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
important.'

                                '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
make happy, it's God!

                                Don't skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And
besides the 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
kids.'

                                '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 handsomely.



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?

Oh really?

Who said.

And how many?

These gloom 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.

Your 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 up-to-date.

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

http://www.civilwar.org/maps/

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 jane@janereinheimer.com 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.

Quint's 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 streaming.

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" status.

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 it works.

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

It's Maundy 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.

I hope 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 our sins.

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 Dancing! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpmILPAcRQo&feature=related

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 the
neighborhood.

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. Albrecht's
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
position 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. Now you
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."

Finally, 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
... 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
portraits, 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."

Get into 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 readings.

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.

It's just 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

Question #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.

Those 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.

Quint 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 mean: http://www.terragalleria.com/america/south-east/kentucky/

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
weak and 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 Day.
Pretty is as Pretty does but, Beautiful is just plain Beautiful..

I'm supposed to send this to Beautiful People,
and you are one of them!!!


March 21, 2012

From the 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 month.

God bless each and every one of you.



March 20, 2012

Election 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 do!

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

An anonymous quote: PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID, OR WHAT YOU
SAID ~BUT~THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL.


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



                  The Talking Centipede


                  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
                  To
                  Church with me
                  And learn about God?"
                  ......

                  YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS ......


                  This time,
                  A little voice
                  Came out of the box,

                  "I heard you the first time!

                   I ' m putting my shoes on!"

March 17, 2012

Today is 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.

He told the supervisor,
'I know we are supposed
To enforce the law....
But I also know that
Important people are
Given certain courtesies.
I need to know what
I should do because
I have stopped a
Very important person.'

The supervisor asked,
'Is it the governor?'

The young trooper said,
'No, he's more important
Than that.'

The supervisor said,
'Oh, so it's the president.'

The young trooper said,
'No, he's even more
Important than that.'

The supervisor finally asked,

'Well 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.

And when 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.

You 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.

The Lord, 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.

When 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.

He's the 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.

This 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
Address:  Ephesians  1:20
Phone:  Romans  10:13
Website:  The Bible . Keywords: Christ, Lord, Savior and  Jesus
_____________________________________________________
Objective
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.
_____________________________________________________________________
Qualifications
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 Galatians  3:13)   
The  blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant comes upon your life  through me, (See
Galatians  3:14)   
_____________________________________________________________________    
Occupational  Background    
I've  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   
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,
restoring  sight to the blind and setting at liberty them that are  bruised, (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)   
_____________________________________________________________________   
Educational  Background   
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).   
_____________________________________________________________________   
Major  Accomplishments   
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 an
Internet  connection or computer to access my  website.  
_____________________________________________________________________  
References  
Believers  and followers worldwide will testify to my divine  healing, salvation,
deliverance, miracles, restoration  and supernatural  guidance.  
_____________________________________________________________________  
In  Summation  
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. 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 who 
may have an opening!
Thanks  for your help.  

'Nuff said.







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
- Tel Numbers

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
someday. Maybe we should all
take some of his advice! A corporate attorney sent
the following out to the
employees in his company:

1.Do not sign the back of your credit cards.
Instead, put 'PHOTO ID REQUIRED.'

2. When you are writing checks to pay
on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the
'For' 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. (DUH!)
You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have It printed, anyone can get
it.

4.
Place 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
approved 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
perhaps most important of all: (I never even thought to do this.)

7.
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
never 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
have 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
tracks.
 
Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about
your wallet, if it has been stolen:

1.) Equifax:
1-800-525-62851-800-525-6285

2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
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
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 about.

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 we receive.

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

Today is 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. ha ha

My dear friend Joyce sent me this link to a video that is nothing short of adorable.
http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=vJRDpTUIrJI&vq=medium

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:   
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0FVm_H_D18

 -- 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 the watchful
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
will 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 quiet
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
heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience
grew thin. Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into
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.
"What's 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 it
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!"

8. When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept
the lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky
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 says
I'm 4 to 6."

10.. A second grader came home from school and said to her
grandmother, "Grandma, 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?"
"It's simple," 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
pregnant." The teacher took the lad aside to correct him. "Don't you
know what pregnant means?" she asked.
"Sure," 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
dog's duties.
"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
airport."

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!

15. My 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
know some 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
You 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 stuff:

  Seems Reasonable 
        

            Can't eat pork,

            Swine flu...



            Can't eat chicken,

            Bird flu.



            Can't eat Beef, Mad cow

            .....

            Can't eat eggs, Salmonella.



            Can't eat fish, heavy metal poisons in their waters.



            Can't eat fruits and veggies E coli, insecticides and herbicides.

             

            Hmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            M

            M

            M

            M

            M

            M

            M

            M

            M

            M

            M



            I believe that leaves Chocolate and ice cream!!!!!!!!

            

            Remember - - - 'STRESSED'

            spelled backwards!

            is

            'DESSERTS'

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
in the 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
window.

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
outside.

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.

Although 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.'

Epilogue:

There 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 aisle.
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." 

One 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,
"Pray for 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:
"Lord, if you can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it.
I'm having a real good time like I am."

A Sunday 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,
looking 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.
"Mama, 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,
jerking 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?"

Six-year old Angie , and her four-year old brother, Joel , were sitting together in
church.  
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,
"See those two men standing by the door?
They're hushers."

  My grandson was visiting one day when he asked ,
"Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?"
      I mentally 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 Ten Commandments.
     They were ready to discuss the last one.
     The teacher asked if anyone could tell her what it was.
     Susie raised her hand, stood tall, and quoted,
"Thou shall not take the covers off the neighbor's wife."

March 3, 2012

Please lift 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. March 8:38

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 think.

Oh yeah?

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

Questions to ask yourself --

Can you tell the difference between being tested and being tempted?

Easy answer.

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

Before 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,
Jane

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 obey.'

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 of God,
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 the door
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
milk.

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
get away.

The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He looked like he just got out
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. The man
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
an Angel?'

The 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 the world).
Phil 4:13 

February 25 -- 26, 2012

I'm 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

You do 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.

I made 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.

Well, 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.

Changing 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

Last night 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

Did you 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 friends.

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

Walk through 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

And who couldn't use a bit of humor in these harried political days? Got this one from my cousin Al in Virginia Beach:

A 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.

      She watched 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 for?"

      "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
ahead 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 at
the invitation of General Motors.

For four days in a row, the fully charged battery lasted only 25 miles before the
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
approximately 270 miles.

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
battery. 

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 country..... REALLY
?????

- 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.


And 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
different language.
                  * 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 our
troops?

                  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 our
troops!!!

February 17, 2012

This is 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 Lord's Prayer:

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.
   *********
"Our Father Who Art In Heaven.
Yes?
Don't interrupt me. I'm praying.
But -- you called ME!
Called you?
No, I didn't call you..
I'm praying.
Our Father who art in Heaven.

There -- you did it again!
Did what?
Called ME.
You said,
"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.
I always say the Lord's Prayer.
It makes me feel good,
Kind of like fulfilling a duty.
Well, all right.
Go on.
Okay, Hallowed be thy name .
Hold it right there.
What do you mean by that?
By what?
By "Hallowed be thy name"?
It means, it means .. . Good grief, 
I don't know what it means.
How in the world should I know?
It's just a part of the prayer.
By the way, what does it mean?
It means honored, holy, wonderful.
Hey, that makes sense.. 
I never thought about what 'hallowed' meant before.
Thanks.
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?
Doing?  Why, nothing, I guess.
I just think it would be kind of neat if you got
Control, 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?
You've really 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!
I'm just as good as some of the rest
Of those People at church!
Excuse ME..
I thought you were praying
For my will to be done..
If that is to happen,
It will have to start with the ones
Who are praying for it.
Like you -- for example ....
Oh, all right. I guess I do have some hang-ups.
Now that you mention it,
I could probably name some others.
So could I.
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.
Good.
Now we're getting somewhere.
We'll work together -- You and ME.
I'm proud of You.
Look, Lord, if you don't mind,
I need to finish up here.
This is taking a lot longer than it usually does.
Give us this day, our daily bread.
You need to cut out the bread..
You're overweight as it is.
Hey, wait a minute! What is this?
Here I was doing my religious duty,
And all of a sudden you break in
And remind me of all my hang-ups.
Praying is a dangerous thing.
You just might get what you ask for.
Remember, you called ME -- and here I am.
It's too late to stop now.
Keep praying.  ( pause .. . )
Well, go on.
I'm scared to.
Scared?  Of what?
I know what you'll say.
Try ME.
Forgive us our sins,
As we forgive those who sin against us.
What about Ann?
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?
I didn't -- mean it..
Well, at least you're honest.
But, it's quite a load carrying around all that
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.
No, you won't feel any better.
You'll feel worse.
Revenge isn't sweet.
You know how unhappy you are --
Well, I can change that.
You can? How?
Forgive Ann.
Then, 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.
There now!
Wonderful!
How do you feel?
Hmmmm. 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 tonight.
I haven't been getting much rest, you know.
Yeah, I know.
But, you're not through with your prayer, are you?
Go on.
Oh, all right.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Good! Good! I'll do that.
Just don't put yourself in a place
where you can be tempted.
What do you mean by that?
You know what I mean.
Yeah. I know..
Okay.
Go ahead. Finish your prayer.
For Thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory forever.
Amen.
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?
YOU  just did".

February 15, 2012

Taking 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 Court.




February 14, 2012

The next question that Jesus asked is in Mark 8:12 -- Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign?

This 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 the time?

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.

Was that sign enough?

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.

Do you 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

I have 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.

Some might 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 .
After discussing all the countries he had been sent to, she asked if they had to
learn several languages?

His reply:

"No ma'am, we don't go there to talk."

February 9, 2012

I almost 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 air.

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.


And 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
Dying of terminal leukemia.

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.

She took 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
come true.'

Later that day she went to her local fire Department in Phoenix , Arizona, where she met   Fireman
Bob, 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
back to the fire station. He was in heaven.

There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day and Billy
got to go out on all three calls.

He rode in the different fire engines, the Paramedic's' van,   and
even 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..

The 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
room?


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 --------  

16 fire-fighters climbed up the ladder into Billy's room!

With his mother's permission, they hugged him and held him and
told him how much they LOVED him.  

With his dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and
said, 'Chief, am I really a fireman now?'

'Billy, you are, and The Head Chief, Jesus, is holding your hand,' the chief said.

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

So there's 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 anywhere.

And now my client has arrived for a session. I see her pulling into the driveway now.



February 6, 2012

Want the world to be a better place? Then do something. Think about joining the huge group of volunteers in America.

I know 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.

Volunteers 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.

Teaching or coaching (24.4 %).

Canvassing, campaigning, or fundraising (22.9 %).

Collecting, 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 Statistics.

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

Quint 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 sat down.

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

If the 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?

What 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?

What 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 we?

Please say you won't.

Scam artists are mean. They're usually crooks who need to go where other criminals live.

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

We're zipping 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 date.

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.

When 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?

But maybe 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. Not.

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.

Babies, 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

I'm actually 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  person.

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!


Subject: 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!
The last sentence says it all... Send this resume to everyone you know, you
never know who may have an opening!   Powerful!
        Have a blessed day!
        The Resume of Jesus Christ
        Address: Ephesians 1:20
        Phone: Romans 10:13
        Website: The Bible . Keywords: Christ, Lord, Savior and Jesus
        _____________________________________________________
        Objective
        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.
        _____________________________________________________________________
        Qualifications
        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 )
        _____________________________________________________________________
        Occupational Background
        I've 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
        Some 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
bruised, (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 )
        _____________________________________________________________________
        Educational Background
        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 ) .
        _____________________________________________________________________
        Major Accomplishments
        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 an Internet connection or computer to access my website.
        _____________________________________________________________________
        References
        Believers and followers worldwide will testify to my divine healing,
salvation, 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. 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 who may have an opening!


        Thanks for your help.

September 26, 2012

Got these one-liners from friend Cody in Warrensburg, Missouri:

Don't let your worries get the best of you;
Remember, Moses started out as a basket case.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
Some people are kind, polite, and sweet-spirited
Until you try to sit in their pews.. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
Many folks want to serve God, 
But only as advisers. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
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. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
Peace starts with a smile. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
don't know why some people change churches;
What difference does it make
which one you stay home from?
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
A
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.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
Forbidden fruits create many jams. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
God grades on the cross, not the curve.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
God loves everyone,
But probably prefers 'fruits of the spirit' over
'religious nuts!'
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
God
promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
He
who angers you, controls you! 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
If God is your Co-pilot, swap seats! 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
Prayer:
Don't give God instructions, just report for duty!
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
The task ahead of us is never as
great as the Power behind us. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
The
Will of God never takes you to where the
Grace of God will not protect
you. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
We
don't change the message,
The message changes us. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
You can tell how big a person is
By what it takes to discourage him.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
The best mathematical equation I have ever seen:
1 cross + 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
ownership. Here's 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):

"Upon 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 out
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 as follows:

(Actual response):

"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
application. 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
Discovery 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,
Queen Isabella.

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
her 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 satisfactory.
Now, may we have our loan?"

The loan was immediately approved.


September 24, 2012

Before 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?"

"Yes."

"Who said that?"

Slow down a bit and give yourself time to frame your response.

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."

"Why" questions 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

This 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

We are 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

We are 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

Okay, 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 days: http://www.dump.com/2011/02/22/end-zone-angle-of-the-final-football-play-of-trinity-vs-millsaps-video/

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.

2. 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

We went 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.

I remember 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. Big deal.

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 if --

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.

For instance, 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.

I'm 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 on spending.

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

I'm so 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.

Oh 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 in heaven.

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.

But what 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 find:

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 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 will remain.

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)


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.

We also 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:

Eighth Place

In Detroit , a 41-year-old man got stuck and drowned in two feet of water after
squeezing head first through an 18-inch-wide sewer grate to retrieve his car keys.


Seventh Place

A 49-year-old San Francisco stockbroker, who "totally zoned when he ran",
accidentally jogged off a 100-foot high cliff on his daily run.


Sixth Place

While at the beach, Daniel Jones, 21, dug an 8 foot hole for protection from the
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.


Fifth Place

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.


Fourth Place

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
trigger.


Third Place

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
target pistol.

The officer and a clerk promptly returned fire, and several customers also drew
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.


HONORABLE MENTION

Paul Stiller, 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.


RUNNER UP

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
no 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 feet
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 say ill-fated
Friedrich, 46, was attempting to give the ailing elephant an olive oil enema when
the relieved beast unloaded.

The sheer force of the elephant's unexpected defecation knocked Mr Riesfeldt to the
ground where 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

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 in heaven.

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:


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 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 will remain.

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

Warning: 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 might think.

Here's an old maxim as you start your new year: If you want people to like you, you have to make yourself likable.

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

Therefore, be it resolved -----

I don't ordinarily make New Years resolutions. But this year is an exception.

I 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.

Then, 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.

But now 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.

Low-fat 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, silly.


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:

Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog?
She died yesterday and is with you in heaven.
I miss 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.
Love, Meredith

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey & Meredith , addressed it
to God/Heaven.
We put our return address on it.
Meredith pasted 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.
Inside 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
envelope.
On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:


Dear Meredith,
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I recognized
her right away.

Abbey isn't sick anymore.
Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart.
Abbey loved being your dog.
Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your
picture in 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.
What 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.

Love,

God

January 1, 2012

What a beautiful message I've received from my cousins, Mark and Al:

 WHAT HAPPENS IN HEAVEN WHEN WE PRAY?
>
> 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 and
> 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
> opportunity."
>
> "If you woke up this morning with more health than illness.. You are more
> blessed than the many who will not even survive this day."
>
> "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 harassment, arrest,
> torture or death you are envied by, and more blessed than, three billion
> 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
> all."
>
> 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
> giving 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?
>
> I thank God for everything, especially all my family and friends.
>

(And do you know how many pearly gates there are? -- If you guessed 12, you'd be correct. See Revelation 21.)


And 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
Christmas season!

                         This is so beautiful!
                       John 3:16

                       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
papers.

                       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.. The
boy sat there for a while and thought to himself:
                       John 3:16 ....I don't understand it, but it sure makes a cold
boy warm.

                       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 eat
anymore. Then he thought to himself: John 3:16...           
      


                       Boy, I sure don't understand it but it sure makes a hungry
boy full.

                       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
Jesus suffer
                       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, but
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
directions .

                       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 God
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 people to
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.)