Sunday, December 28, 2014

Vee Was Running (updated)

   Vee was running. Up the street, past the grocer, the police station and Mrs. Abel’s Millinery-
She ran with the wind at her back, laughing and singing to the beautiful day.
“Vee!” her mother called, waving a dishrag from their fifth floor window.
“Vee! Home for lunch now!”
   Vee nodded, ran back and started climbing the tenement steps two at a time but her feet hurt and as she looked down she saw her feet all red with blood, and then they were blood and hurting horribly.
“Veronica!” came her mother’s voice again, strangely angry.
Vee looked from her feet up to the window where the dishrag fell away from her mother’s limp hand. Her face burned and
“Veronica! Wake up!”
   Nurse Margaret, hand raised to slap, was next to the hospital bed, her hatchet face dark with anger.
“I don’t know why an ignorant beggar child should be such trouble! You complained about me to Dr. Aust again, didn’t you?”
   “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I only asked…”
   “You asked to be moved next to the window. I decide the bed arrangements on this floor and you don’t need a view.”
You need to quit whining and crying to get your way. You’re no princess to be waited on! Just trouble, an orphan who should keep her mouth shut!”
   Nurse Margaret pulled back the blankets and pointed.
“There! Look! Your feet won’t grow back- you will be an invalid, a nuisance and worthless all your life!”
   Vee shut her eyes as Nurse Margaret stalked away, cursing the misfortune of having such a child on her ward.
Pulling the blankets up to her chin, she wanted to cry but had no tears left.
   Mother and Father and Jack.
   A picnic outing, where the Chicago World’s Fair had taken place a few years earlier.
They were excited to be riding the elevated train, watching the buildings whizz past so close that at times it seemed that you could almost touch them.
   Mother in her best, lunchbasket at her feet.  Father looking dignified in his suit, Jack running up and down the train car as it sped across the sky.
   He cheered as the Ferris Wheel came into view but then the train lurched sharply, grinding noises so loudly, and…it fell.
   Vee didn’t think her father could be scared, but he looked frightened, locking eyes with his wife.
   Jack ran and tried to brace, to protect his little sister in the few seconds before it all went dark and she awoke in a hospital bed with bandages where there should have been feet.
   Vee felt her face and wondered if it was red. Soon she was asleep, and no more dreams.
   When she woke the next morning, her bed was next to the window; she could see it was a warm summer day.
Two Lemon drops landed on her bed and she turned to see Dr. Aust smiling. He knew they were Vee's favorite treat.
   “Good morning, Veronica. Did you sleep well last night?”
   “Good morning, Dr. Aust. Yes, I did, and thank you for the lemon drops and for moving me to the window. It’s beautiful outside today!”
Dr. Aust reminded Vee of her Grandfather, except instead of a butcher’s apron he wore a nice suit.
   He was smiling, but a frown clouded his face for a moment as he pulled a paper from his pocket.
“Vee, I know what happened last night, and I’m sorry that Miss Hampton acted so horribly towards you. She has been dismissed, and she won’t be mistreating you anymore.”
   “Doctor! I’m sorry! I didn’t…”
   “You have nothing to be sorry for, child. One of the other nurses witnessed what she did, and told me. I apologize to you on behalf of the hospital, and I must beg you forgiveness for something else.”
   He handed her a postcard.
   “Veronica, this card came for you some time ago, and Miss Hampton…kept it. It was in her locker and I’m sorry that I didn’t know about it until now.”
   Vee read the card, postmarked two months earlier, four…no…five weeks after the accident.
Dearest Veronica,
I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to get back again to see you, but you have a home here with us as soon as the doctor releases you.
You will be like our own daughter, and my sister will be smiling down on us from Heaven- we are family. Have the hospital send word and Henry and I will come for you when you are ready. Love, Emily.
   Dr. Aust pulled up a chair and sat.
   “I met them, Vee, when they came to see you-you wouldn’t remember, as we had you medicated for the pain. They’re good people-have you been to their place before?”
   Vee nodded.
   “Once we went for a Christmas visit-snow was up higher than our heads, and they met us at the station with a sled and two horses! No buildings at all! Just empty prairies and a few trees all the way to their farm.”
   “I grew up on a farm myself. Do they have cattle?”
   “A couple of cows, some pigs, chickens and a garden. My aunt makes the best pies!”
   Aust smiled. “I’m sure that she does, Vee. That postmark says Topeka-do they live close to there?”
   “I think so, though Mom talked about growing up near Hays.”
   “I’ve been there, and it’s a nice town. Vee… I want you to think about something.”
“Your life is…changed. We all have things happen that we didn’t expect, and the best way to keep moving forward and doing well is to not let your troubles hinder you.”
   “Doctor, I think Nurse Margaret has been…hindered. She’s not very happy.”
   “I think you’re right. You’re a bright girl, Vee, and I’m sure that you will do well in life. You don't know, but I delivered you when you were born, and I knew your parents well.”
   “Mother pointed you out on the street once and told me how nice you are.”
   “She did? Well, bless her. You’ll be starting a new chapter in your life; it’s important to make the most of a fresh start.”
   Vee nodded.
  “I’ve had a lot of time to think, here in this bed, and when I go to Kansas, and I want to use my middle name, which was my mother’s first name.
It will remind me of her and Dad and Jack every time someone calls me Dorothy.”
   “That sounds like a fine idea. Do you remember anything else about the farm?”
   “Well, I slept in a big, big bed with lots of quilts, and on the wall facing there was a cross-stitch Aunt Em had done: “BE IT EVER SO HUMBLE,

That night, after watching the moon come up, Vee dreamt of Kansas.
Dorothy was running...

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Day I Was Caught In A Lie

Yep, Guilty. And it hurt. But the hurt went away.
Before we proceed, please look to the right, at the picture from 1978.
About a year after that picture came The Lie, which I've detailed here before,
but it's been a while, and there may be fresh(er) eyes reading this to whom it would be new.
(Don't laugh-it could happen!)
NOW I can understand all that was going on, but at the time: no way was up, all was confusion and I was failing at life.
God was after me.
He was piercing my conscience through with many arrows, and I felt that I was not going to make it.
I fought. I wanted nothing to do with God. But...
I had Christian friends that were praying, writing to me, witnessing to me, who told me that
God loved me.
I didn't feel loved-I felt troubled, as if my whole world was falling apart, that there was no hope.
I had grown up in a Lutheran church, but felt that was a sham-I never saw God there, just
well intentioned hypocrisy.
I did know a few Scriptures; one that tore right through me:
25“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 
26“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:25-26

This wasn't taught in the Lutheran church-we were told that we were confirmed as Christians
BY the church, and that we were headed to Heaven.
I wished to save my own life, but that just wasn't happening.
I KNEW I was headed to hell no matter what the Pastor recited over us each Sunday.
I was running from God, from 'what does it profit a man', from the reality that God existed.
And God was patiently working on me, bringing me to the point where I would no longer trust in my flawed self righteousness, but instead seek Him.
It was in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan that I sought out a bookstore, hoping to find some Science Fiction or Fantasy to escape into, where I could hide from Him.
Shopping mall bookstore, near closing time, empty except for the owner.
It took less than a minute inside for me to realize that it was a Christian book store.
The owner, a genial man, engaged me in small talk for a bit before he asked "The Question":
"I assume that you are a Christian, right?"
I looked him in the eye and said, "Yes I am".
In my heart I knew it was a lie.
He cheerfully said something about it being a special time of year, and I realized that it was near what I then called 'Easter'.
I nodded and got out of there quickly, having added one more sin to the pile on my heart.
It wasn't long after that when I finally DID give up and turn to God, and my life was saved
not because I was good, but because God Is.
I'm pretty sure that I will see that book store owner in Heaven.
I hope to see you there, too.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

cheery holidays

Not that it's anyone's, but fear not-I'm not any of the 'esseds': distressed, depressed, coalesced.
Earlier whilst flipping channels during football I came upon good old Jacob Marley visiting his former work-mate Scrooge in an iteration of "A Christmas Carol".
Which this being the season of, made me of a mind to share the poem/image above.
I guess I'll pick on Jeff Winger for this next bit-if you've seen the TV show "Community" you know that the show runners are/were up for any odd twisted episode-they go/went places where most sitcoms feared to re-tread.
If not familiar with the show, this probably will make no sense, but it was on a major network
(Their estimation, not mine), so I'm going to assume you have at least a passing knowledge.
Christmas episode: Jeff and his crew go through a quiet study day, classes and lunch and more classes until they gather in their study hall and go over their assignments.
No carols.
No messages about family.
No beatific children discovering the joy of the season.
No major drama that concludes in 22 minutes with a group hug.
No snark (remember-Community draws outside the lines) towards any religion.
No Christmas Party where truths are shared/discovered.
Just a quiet school day and then everyone leaves.
On his way home Winger stops for a coffee and the barista wishes him a Merry Christmas.
Jeff says, "You, too."
Roll credits.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Shiny Faced Mortuary Choir

Title doesn't refer to the charming youths above-I goggle searched for choirs, and there they were.
This morning before work I turned on the TV for breakfast background noise, and a local
H.S. Choir was Caroling.
Close to 40 years ago MY H.S. Choir was doing a TV Christmas thing, and we, being unused to anything television-wise, were scared to dearth. I mean deer-in-headlights-frozen-with-bug-eyes-and-dry-mouths SCARED!
Our Choir director, hoping to get us to relax, called us the 'Shiny faced mortuary choir' which helped a little.
That teacher is now in his late 80's and he still directs a local community choir. They had a concert just the other night.
Yes indeed, t'is the season.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Good To Know On Which Sides Of The Moss Trees Are Growing

Obscurity, thy name is Doug.
In this inverted (logic and reason down, irration and illogic up) world, the old
canard (DUCK!) : {if lost in the woods, look to see on which side of a tree the moss is growing to determine direction} needed some inversion, too.
Or subversion. Or whatever.
Lets see...a North Korean dictator is dictating to Hollywood whether or not they should
release a film he doesn't like.
He didn't send drones, friends. Just some cyber espionage/bullying/threatening directed at Sony Pictures, which has knuckled under to the knucklehead and cancelled the film, "The Interview".
The enemy of my enemy is my friend. I had zero interest in seeing "The Interview" but now would pay a premium to go to a showing.
I thought that Putin had a big ego, but head-like-a-knuckle in NorComKorea makes Putin look downright humble.
The old canard (Duck! Again!) about moss is that it will only grow on the North side of a tree.
An old political canard is that the psychotic in charge of North Korea is just a puppet of Communist China.
If THEY wanted to check their political currency, and see if THEY could make Sony-a Japanese multinational corporation bow down to their puppet, just for grins and giggles...all of a sudden the trees are growing on both sides of the Moss.
In case you didn't know, Richard Ayoade plays Maurice Moss in "The IT Crowd", which is funny like you haven't seen since "Black Books". Unless you haven't seen "Black Books".
Shockingly, I agree with those in Hollywood who feel that Sony should have stood strong and told the North Korea Nimrod to mind his own. 
He hacked into Sony-if someone felt like doing a good deed, howsabout hacking into North Korea's internet, flooding it with "The Interview"?
Moss would know how to do it-he's an I.T. guy.
(srysly-look up The IT Crowd and thank me whenever.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cuba Chameleon

Wowsers. Yesterday Cuba wasn't on my emotional radar, and now it's a brand new day.
I don't know how this is going to play out, normalizing 'relations' between the United States and Cuba. There seems to be muy caliente response a'boilin' in the American Cuban community amongst those who have sought an end to the Communist regime of the Castro brothers.
Will this be 'good'? Catastrophe? Castro-strophic?
A boon or a boondoggle?
Looking for a silver lining: after extending an olive brance to Cuba, perhaps President Obama may one day seek to normalize 'relations' with Conservative Americans such as myself.
While there is life, there is hope.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

How Do You Approach God? How Do You Not?

This is a touchy subject, and this might be a shorter post than usual. Don't look so happy.
When I say God, I mean the true God Who revealed Himself through His Word, His Word who became flesh and dwelt among us.
I have seen sinners scared nigh unto death by the idea of facing the true God.
I have known some sinners who, rather than face God, invented gods to replace Him.
Accept no substitutes, as no substitutes are acceptable.
So, the True God exists.
How do you approach Him?
Is there a candle to light, an action to be done such as raising hands, speaking certain incantations?
God must be approached with the reverence He deserves. If your heart is so soiled, your life such that you would not dare to seek God...
then you are where I once was.
I did not feel worthy to approach God.
In my own strength, my own will, my own soiled (un)righteousness, I am still not worthy.
But God Himself saved me, imputing to me the Righteousness of Christ, making it possible for me to approach Him.
Why would He do such a thing for someone so unrighteous?
"16“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 
17“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." John 3:16-17

Here is a blessing for you from God's own word:
 14For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 
15from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 
16that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 
17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 
18may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 
19and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Okayfine-I've Holidecorated!

Chain! As in Marley's Ghost!
With a Key! (Avec Que) As In: 'With Whom'!
An actual Sleigh Bell!
The ghost of Jacob Marley and I Jingle Bell you a Happy Holiday!
Last year the display was a bit more muted-the bell/chain combo was hung in the front doorframe with care. Now-Big Time All Out Holidecorating in the front window!!!
Notice the Blessings abounding on my street-no sno through which to go. I haven't yet
needed my snowblower and that is a blessing.
So...what next in the celebratory holiday stuff? 
Listening to a song or two, maybe watch a  movie later. Children's Christmas program tomorrow at church.
I have to ease into this Holiday stuff.
Mister Grinch's heart grew to three times its usual size, which could be deadly!
Any Doctor other than Dr Seuss would call that myocarditis.
Be safe, citizens.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dance Like Nobody Has An iPhone-reblogged from FrDW

Enough day to call it a day.
Was listening to 'talk radio' whilst working in the kitchen tonight-my workplace gifted us our choice of either a turkey or a ham-I was cooking my greatly appreciated ham-anyway, talk radio tonight reminded me of why I get so sick of politics.
Election is over, but the song remains the same: more them vs us, more 'this latest tragic catastrophe will overtake us if we don't DO something!' garbage.
The long/short of it: Man messes up, and the longer something man-made lasts, the more it devolves into entropic chaos.
Our Republic is about 240 years old. I shake my head and pray, hoping for the soon return of Christ, Who will rule Creation from Jerusalem. And do away with all liars AKA politicians.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Loss, Loss, And Something Gained

Yes, it is the Day. Above is a picture of the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
It is also the anniversary of my Mother passing away, so yeah-we have that also.
As horrific as the attack on Pearl Harbor was, it was the impetus, the rallying point, which
brought us into the World War.
Without Pearl Harbor, would Hitler have won? I don't deal in "IF's" or "Might Have's" so it feels strange to posit such an idea.
War-as long as sinful man acts sinfully, we will need to confront evil with good.
War can be righteous. War can be sinful.
Cling to what is good and abhor evil-be honest and truthful and confront the liars as you meet them.
Love God.

Friday, December 05, 2014

No Cosby Christmas Special This Season...I Hope

"1 I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever; With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations." Psalm 89:1 KJV

 "2“But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. 
3“Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops." Luke 12:2-3 NASB

Before you assumerate as to what I have to say about Bill Cosby, let me add the John Bradford quote: "There, but for the Grace of God go I".
We all have feet of clay, we all sin. What we sow, we reap, unless God intervenes and by His
mercy does not punish us as we deserve.
If the allegations made against Cosby are true, he will reap what he has sown.
It may sound self serving to say this, but I am grateful that God has not burdened me with wealth. If I had as much money as Cosby has made, if I had what this world calls "Power"...
I might be tempted to think I was above the law, could do whatever I wanted. That I could buy silence and cover up anything with enough money.
I have little, which is enough, and as the saying goes, "You go with what you came with."

Monday, December 01, 2014

Hope You Don't Mind

“Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths,  And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight;     Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Selah.
  Surely every man walks about as a phantom;     Surely they make an uproar for nothing;     He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them." Psalm 39:5-6

I might have been a bit too hard on Robin Williams when I posted after his suicide a few months ago. Maybe.
The picture above is an aggregation of pictures from google from the topic 'Robin Williams/ children'. Why?
Life is precious. Life, the very breath in your lungs is a gift from God.
I have friends who have passed away in the past year whose children and families miss them terribly, all the more with the "Holidays" approaching. Life is precious.
The children of Robin Williams  grieve the loss of their Dad, and I have compassion for them and for all who have lost loved ones.
But it is a little hard to work up any compassion for Robin Williams himself. He didn't love his kids enough to want to stick around and be part of their lives.
So, why now, Doug? Why post today about Williams?
Let his story be a caution to those who may get depressed and suicidal during the upcoming "Holidays".
If one cares for, truly loves their family and friends...they should stick around and be in their lives. Even if your life isn't all that great.
If life seems untenable, too much pain...just remember that pain, like everything else in Life,  passes.
A handsbreadth, from pinky to thumb is all that we have. God sets the number of our days, and no one knows how many seconds or decades he or she has been blessed with until they are done.
So, go make your own 'uproar for nothing'. Amass your riches, make your plans, do what you will. Every man at his best is a mere breath.
But Live.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Forget Your Black Friday For A Few

Neat Interweb stuff: Listen to the world!
The ISS passes so quickly around the world that you can hear radio from a new country every few minutes. Kind of cool, and about as free as can be found.
I celebrated Black Friday by working close to 11 hours. Rather than SAVING Money...I was making it.
Listening to music from Saudi Arabia right now. Coolness.
Yah, we're coming into the"Christmas Season" and I feel, again, that this is a weird worldly
attempt to co-opt Religion for a few weeks until New Year's Eve when the focus is once more back on the world's stuff.
Why do pagans celebrate Jesus Christ? If they do not believe in Him, they are celebrating the birth and life of the Person who will judge them. As in sending them to hell.
If they 'kinda' believe in Him as a good moral teacher or still makes no sense.
People who make very clear that they do not appreciate Christianity will put up a tree and buy presents and decorate their homes.
They will have a big dinner on Christmas Day and might even say Grace.
It is a crazy world.
Ponorogo, Indonesia-a news station, and I can't understand a word.
S'okay. You might not understand me, either.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Aginst The Random Thoughts Tuesday Sked

I'm not a cat person.  But I have cats.
I've noticed that cats (at least the ones that infest my house) only verbalize (MEE-OWW) when speaking down to the lower species (Humans).
Amongst themselves, nary a word. They are either telepathic felines or experts at the non-verbs. Points are made and argued with a look or a movement. And sometimes they go from friends to enemy combatants in a millisecond (but what is time to a cat, right?).
Those pictured above are internet cats, not the ones that live here.
A friend @work hit me with a query that I hadn't heard before-was I growing a "Novembeard"?
I guess so. Found that it is a thing, similar to a "Deer camp beard".
I just get tired of shaving every once in a while and so yes, right now I am bearded.
Young boy: Dad, can we turn up the heat? I'm cold.
Dad: Go stand in the corner.
Young boy: Why should I stand in the corner?
Dad: Because that 90 degrees.
I am invited to Thanksgiving with friends which I have heard called both "Friendsgiving"
and "Orphan dinner" for those who don't have family near. I am also blest to have Second Thanksgiving on Saturday.
May You have a fine Thanksgiving(s) too.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Saving Silverman Part D

“We have to see them as human,” Silverman said, “and hopefully maybe they will see us as human.” When the protesters told her she was going to hell, she replied, “I can’t! I don’t believe in God.”

The 'them' that Silverman was referring to in this quote are "Anti-abortion" protestors.
I see her as very human. A weak, fallible human, just as I am.
I doubt that she actually doesn't believe in God-that is more of her schtick, her public persona-she often makes outrageous statements just to garner a reaction ala Ann Coulter.
But, as you might imagine, the 'don't believe in God' part is what caught my attention.
I'm sure that you've heard it said that teenagers think that they are both indestructible and immortal-that they live and act as if they are going to live forever.
Here is part of the Grace of God-those teens impervious to both time and danger eventually grow older, wiser and come to recognize that our time on this planet is limited.
Many young people who reject the idea of God through His Grace live long enough to learn better.
I think that Sarah Silverman is a bright young woman who, thirty years from now, might very well believe in God as her youth fades and she comes face to face with her own mortality.
I hope so. I don't want to see her or anyone else end up in hell.
Every question in Life is theological.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Why Did The Atheist Cross The Road?

Why Did The Atheist Cross The Road?
"Beats me. Just lost, I guess."
As if we didn't have enough turmoil circumnavigating the planet, now there is contention rearing its ugly about the new moving picture of an old, old story.
"Exodus-Gods and Kings", from Ridley Scott is the furor-maker.
Some are crying "Racism", which may or may not be the case. Doubt I'll ever have an opinion on that, as I don't plan on seeing this film.
Why not?
Same reason I avoid most efforts of atheists and agnostics who attempt to 'Go Biblical'.
It's never good.
Maybe a contrary example would help make my point:
If some film-maker who politically resides to the right of Rush Limbaugh decided to put out
a Barack Obama biographic movie, one might assume that it would not be embraced by Liberals.
So when an agnostic such as Ridley Scott decides to work his creative majic on the story of Moses, it's a no go for me.
Supposedly Scott is also preparing a film on the life of King David. Why?
Does atheist Penn Jillette steer far away from God?
Nope-writes mocking books, cracks (un)wise in his act, has podcasted tirades/screeds/been rather impolite towards Christianity. You'd think that he might be happier IGNORING God. But He seems to bug him.
I have stuff that I don't like, but I don't obsess over it, investing emotional capital in hating. I'd rather be happy.
I enjoy some of Scott's other work, and Christian Bale is a fine actor...but nah. Not interested in their 'vision' of Exodus. Didn't see 'Noah' either.
Or "The Passion of the Christ".
Are their good Biblical movies? There may be-but none of those will be made by  non-believers.
Actually, I wouldn't mind if no-one made Biblical films aside from those used for evangelism,
those which sincerely share the Gospel.
"The Jesus Film" from 1979 has been such a film, and there may be others.
 But not from Hollywood. Not from Ridley Scott.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Not Paterfamilias-just patter. Slouncing around amongst the interwebs lately, seeing the talking heads Byrneing down strawmen and straw houses, I've noticed a pattern in the patter.
Con men and con (fidence) ladies have their story, no matter how ridiculous, down pat.
Whether they are fully convinced themselves in the narrate they perpetrate...can't tell. The best liars sound so convincing that the easily gulled are quickly lulled into going along with the tale that, if it sounds too true to be good, must be dis-proven rather than proven.
I recall a bookseller in a high class, hoity toity Book Emporium-the kind of place that low rent Barnes and Noble attempts to emulate-who had perfect delivery of his sales pitch, which ended with his gently placing a book in my hands.
No sale. But he was good.
I bring up politics {forgive, please!} only as a passing (failing) example. Not all sides can possibly be right about any issue. But the patter excreted in the real world of the internets and the realer world outside---somebody is wrong, someone right. Some of those who are wrong KNOW that they are wrong, but only some. And verse vici on the other side-there are those who know they are right and others who only hope they are right.
Cut the patter. If you are sure about things, go beyond the bumperstuck mentality and dig into why you are sure, what evidence convinced you at first, and if, years later, you still find it true.
Be honest with yourself and examine what grounds you, what you have built your life on.
I'm talking to Christians, too. Brothers and sister in Christ who have the Christian patter down, know the right verbiage for every situ...but haven't dug into their theology to see if it can can pass a stress test. Or four. Or four hundred.
Live beyond patter.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Until That Day

Yes, November 11th is Veterans Day.
As I've noted before, I'm a peacetime veteran. I never saw battle, but plenty of our fellow Americans have, and it is their day, 11-11-14.
Someday...there will be no more veterans.

"2    Now it will come about that     In the last days     The mountain of the house of the LORD     Will be established as the chief of the mountains,     And will be raised above the hills;     And all the nations will stream to it.
3    And many peoples will come and say,     “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,     To the house of the God of Jacob;     That He may teach us concerning His ways     And that we may walk in His paths.”     For the law will go forth from Zion     And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4    And He will judge between the nations,     And will render decisions for many peoples;     And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.     Nation will not lift up sword against nation,     And never again will they learn war."

Isaiah 2:2-4

Until that Day, there will be wars, there will be need of soldiers and sailors and pilots, and there will be Veterans. Until that Day. Honor those who serve, honor those who have served, and may God Bless our Veterans, on the 11th and every other day.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

A God By Any Other Name

Once upon a time, Paul was used by God to perform a miracle, the healing of a man lame from birth.
11When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us.” 
12And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 
13The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 
14But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out 
15and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 
16“In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; 
17and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” 
18Even saying these things, with difficulty they restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them. Acts 14:11-18

It mattered to Paul and Barnabas that their works were being attributed to pagan gods.
Here the inhabitants of Lystra had to be restrained from offering sacrifices to their gods in honor of Paul and Barnabas.

A few chapters further along in Acts Paul is in Athens:
"22So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 
23“For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you."
Acts 17:22-23

Paul did not say, "Men of Athens, Zeus, whom you worship is just another name for the true God that I worship. A name is just a name, am I right?"
No-he found an inscription "TO AN UNKNOWN GOD" and used it as an opener to preach the Gospel.

Bottom line: God is Who He Is, and He has the first and last word:
"2“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3“You shall have no other gods before Me.
4“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 
5“You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 
6but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments."
Exodus 20:2-6

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Other Voices, Not In My Head

I don't often point to other blogs, link up with like mindeds, etc.
But here is a link to a fine post by R. Hudson L.:

I recall the 2004 election when John Kerry lost-in his concession speech he said of President Bush, "If he wants to get things done, he will have to work with us." (Not word for word-it's been a long time.)

Last night Harry Reid allegedly stated:
"The message from voters is clear: they want us to work together," Reid said. "I look forward to working with Senator McConnell to get things done for the middle class."

Oh, so that's what you say when you lose an election! All of a sudden, the light above Capitol Hill goes on:
"Cooperation. Working together across party lines."

As proof that I am myself willing to work with Democrats, I will let President Obama have the last word. Note-this is from a year ago, but he really did say this:

See you on the other side, Rhodes.

Whatever Comes

I am grateful to God for everything in my life, including the struggles that have taught me what I have needed to learn and the great blessings which have made me appreciate God all the more.
Blessings always outweigh and outnumber struggles, at least for those who know God and are known by Him. But both are part of the packet issued when we are brought into God's family.
The Psalms are a source of great comfort for us-wisdom from God, life examples from those who have also been issued the same packet.
Most Psalms, I've heard it said, begin with a cry to God for help and end with a shout of Joy as He delivers His people.
But Life is not all rescues and victories on this side of Eternity, sometimes there is no triumphant shout of Joy.
Which is why Psalm 88 sticks with me.

1    O Lord, the God of my salvation,     I have cried out by day and in the night before You.
2    Let my prayer come before You;     Incline Your ear to my cry!
3    For my soul has had enough troubles,     And my life has drawn near to Sheol.
4    I am reckoned among those who go down to the pit;     I have become like a man without strength,
5    Forsaken among the dead,     Like the slain who lie in the grave,     Whom You remember no more,     And they are cut off from Your hand.
6    You have put me in the lowest pit,     In dark places, in the depths.
7    Your wrath has rested upon me,     And You have afflicted me with all Your waves. Selah.
  8    You have removed my acquaintances far from me;     You have made me an object of loathing to them;     I am shut up and cannot go out.
9    My eye has wasted away because of affliction;     I have called upon You every day, O LORD;     I have spread out my hands to You.
10    Will You perform wonders for the dead?     Will the departed spirits rise and praise You? Selah.
  11    Will Your lovingkindness be declared in the grave,     Your faithfulness in Abaddon?
12    Will Your wonders be made known in the darkness?     And Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
13    But I, O LORD, have cried out to You for help,     And in the morning my prayer comes before You.
14    O LORD, why do You reject my soul?     Why do You hide Your face from me?
15    I was afflicted and about to die from my youth on;     I suffer Your terrors; I am overcome.
16    Your burning anger has passed over me;     Your terrors have destroyed me.
17    They have surrounded me like water all day long;     They have encompassed me altogether.
18    You have removed lover and friend far from me;     My acquaintances are in darkness.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

The RACE To Election Night

Just a few more days, and the political ads will stop, the robo-calls will be shelved for 18 months, and the world will begin turning again. Oh, right-keeps turning no matter what. Thank God.
I have successfully ignored 86% of the political this season; my apathy shields are holding strong at 94%.
But I do admit to mild interest in the outcome of the election. I would love for the Repubs to win enough elections to frustrate President Obama's plans for his final two years in office.
That would be good, though I doubt that the Republicans will find the intestinal fortitude to DO anything.
I think that they will simply wait out the lame duck Presidency, as anything they do to oppose President Obama will be shouted up as Racism...just like the last six years.
Mary Landrieu is already readying the excuse canons, stating that “The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans. It’s been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader.”
Did you get that? Racism is alive and well in the South, and it's President Obama's skin color, not his policies or politics that matter.
Believe me or don't, but I would just as outraged by the policies and politics of the Obama Presidency if it were instead the Biden or Hil Clinton Presidency.
Landrieu sees RACE. That is her Racism.
I judge Obama by the content of his character, which I find lacking in humility with an overabundance of ego.
Alfred Bester once wrote of a dangerous man who was a possible world changer-that man's success or failure in an endeavor would tilt civilization one way or the other.
But that is fiction, and President Obama may believe that he has such power, but in reality,
he's just a man. 
7    “He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous;     But with kings on the throne     He has seated them forever, and they are exalted.
8    “And if they are bound in fetters,     And are caught in the cords of affliction,
9    Then He declares to them their work     And their transgressions, that they have magnified themselves.
10    “He opens their ear to instruction,     And commands that they return from evil.
11    “If they hear and serve Him,     They will end their days in prosperity     And their years in pleasures.
12    “But if they do not hear, they shall perish by the sword     And they will die without knowledge.
13    “But the godless in heart lay up anger;     They do not cry for help when He binds them." Job 36:7-13

He declares to them their work and their transgressions, that they have magnified themselves.
That is everything but his name. 
Forgive me, please, for pointing out that 'readying the excuse canons' was a shallow attempt at cleverness, not a typo. Canon, as in strongly held belief. Excuse, as in...well, see Democrat.