Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Year-end ramblings

The end of another year is upon us. This arbitrary calendar date always gets us in either a nostalgic or anticipatory mood. Either we reminisce (Thank you, Lord, for spell check!) about what has happened in our lives over the last 12 months, or we look ahead to what might come our way in the next. Newspapers and magazines remind us of the “top ten” stories, which are nothing more than the editors’ way of rehashing their own opinions on the readers. Radio stations play the “top” songs, or at least the ones that sold the most copies or got the most airplay. I often wonder who chooses these. When I was in radio, many times I didn’t like the “hit” song on an album, but preferred one of the other cuts, so it would get more airplay on my shift. Now, I don’t like buying albums (or whatever they are called now-a-days), as there might be one or two songs I like, and the rest are fillers.

So, what has happened at 3rd and College to make 2008 special? Let’s see. We celebrated a college graduation of our second child (oldest daughter). Now she is engaged to be married in March. How soon before I become “grandpa”? It is scary to think of my children starting married lives.

Daughter 2 turned 21 this year. Another scary thought: I have three children over 21 years of age! They do grow up fast, don’t they?

In the next year, other than the wedding, another milestone will take place: oldest child (the son) will hit the ripe old age of 25! To think I was his age when I wed. Was I so inexperienced as he? And youngest daughter will start high school and be old enough to get her permit to drive. More gray hair as I teach another to drive.

Small things in the great scheme of life, but daunting none-the-less. Lord, help me know and Your will.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Felicitous Salutations for the Winter Celebration

It’s that time of year again, the hectic time between my favorite holiday (Thanksgiving) and the most over-commercialized event in any society at any time in history (Christmas). What started out as a religious celebration of the birth of Jesus, has become another way to make a buck. Now the holiday returns to its non-Christian origins, though not its pagan ones. No, now the religion is “PC-ism”. Want something entertaining to do this year? Keep track of how many store clerks greet you with the PC “Happy Holidays” or the religiously “unacceptable” phrase “Merry Christmas”. Some stores have policies telling the clerks which to use. However, I have never found one as bad as this one.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

We’ve only just begun

So, the election is over and Barack Obama is going to be sworn in as the 44th President on January 20th. Historical, to be sure. Many questions remain to be answered, and all we can do is pray that God will intervene when needed.

While I am not a prophet, just an observer in this world, here are a few predictions:
  • Mr. Obama will not be reelected in 2012. Not because he won’t run, but because the economy will continue to fall into the abyss, and he will not be able to get us back to where we were last year. The same would happen were McCain to be president. It is just going to be another Herbert Hoover situation.
  • The $700 billion for Wall Street, the proposed bail out of Detroit, and the housing crisis will all work together to bring us to a depression, though not as deep as the 1930s. Get ready for it now. Learn to do with less.
  • Al-Qaida will continue to be our enemy, in spite of efforts by the Obama administration to talk them out of their hatred. There will be another attack on US soil, though not as big as the 2001 attacks.
  • The rest of the enemies of the US will soon see that Obama is too inexperienced at international affairs. He will try his charm on them, and it will work for a while. But Iran will continue its hatred of us, and will work with Al-Qaida to destroy us, regardless of the Sunni-Shia hatred of each other.
  • Russia will also take advantage of Obama’s inexperience, and make attempts to regain more of its empire, testing Obama to see if he will negotiate or defend.
  • There will be a strong 3rd party in 2012 which will cause the two major parties to reorganize themselves so we can tell them apart.
What do you think? The last prediction is more of a hope than anything, as I for one, am tired of the Republicans reaching out, only to find that “bipartisanship” means something else to the Democrats: “Our way is the only way.”

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Poem: A Testimony

Note: This poem is based on a vivid dream that I had back in the 80s shortly before my conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Walking on Sand

A mountain of sand.
I was walking on a mountain of sand.
I thought, "The sand is firm.
I will walk on
this sand."

While climbing a dune
I thought that though
the sand was firm,
it was also soft to the feet;
It was easy to walk on
the sand.

Suddenly, a hole opened
in the sand.
I fell,
I slid,
I was surrounded
by sand.
I didn't know where up was,
I didn't know where down was.
I couldn't breath
because of
the sand.

I swam.
I tried to swim in the sea
of sand.
The more I swam,
the more I sank.
I couldn't get out of
the sand.

I tried to scream.
But I couldn't.
When I opened my mouth,
it filled with sand.
I was drowning in
the sand.

I awoke.
It was a dream.
I had dreamed that
I was drowning in a sea of sand.
But, thought I, it was so real.
I could actually feel
myself being drowned by
the sand.

I thought
"What does this mean?
Why is it so real?
And why did I dream
about sand?"

I couldn't sleep.
I could only think
of the dream
about drowning in
the sand.

Finally I realized
what the dream meant.
All my life I did
what I wanted;
what I thought was right.
I did my own thing.
It was as if
I were building a castle
on sand.

In a Book, I have read
of a man who built
his house on the sand.
The foundation was shaky.
A storm came,
with its winds and waves,
and destroyed the house on the sand.
That was my life:
A life built on
the sand.

In that Book,
the One telling the story said,
"He who hears my words
and does them not,
is like the foolish man
who built his house on
the sand."

I had heard that story.
I was living that story.
My actions and thoughts,
both good and bad,
were each a grain
in the sea
of sand.

But the Book tells more.
The One telling the story
told of the wise man
who hears the words
of Him who spoke
and does them.
This is the one
who built his house on
the Rock.
The storm came,
with its winds and waves,
and could not destroy it,
because it was built on
the Rock.

I had heard that story.
But I wasn't living like that.
My life wasn't built on
the Rock.

I knew that to build on the Rock,
I needed to change.
But how does one change?
Can one change by doing good
instead of bad?

No, learned I.
One cannot change from
good to bad
any more than a bad tree
can grow good fruit.
One can only be made good
by trusting in Him who said
"I am the Way,
the Truth,
and the Life."
This is how to build
a house on
the Rock.

If one bases his life
on the true words
which are found only in
the Book which I have mentioned,
he will live a life of peace.
The storms of life will come,
with their winds and waves,
and his life will stand,
because it will be built on
the Rock.

If one does not base his life
on these words,
his life will be built on the sand.
The storms and trials
of life will come,
with their winds and waves,
and his life will not stand,
because it will not have
a foundation.
It will not be built on
the Rock.

PSL 1997

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Remember: God will still be in control on November 5th!

I saw this over at World Magazine blog today. It is rather important for us as Christians to remember these truths.

Top 10 Predictions No Matter Who Wins the Election

1. The Bible will still have all the answers.
2. Prayer will still work.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
6. There will still be singing of praises to God.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross for you.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost if they turn to Him.


Friday, October 10, 2008

What a week!

Whew! Another day of this week and we will all go crazy.

The economic crisis did not get fixed with the Congressional taxpayer ripoff. Wall Street seems to be getting lower and lower, and Washington seems to get more and more generous with our tax money. Our great grandchildren will be serving the Chinese government before it is all over. I believe that whoever is elected next month will not get a second term, as the economy is probably going to collapse out from under him, and he will leave office in disgrace in 2013, sort of like Herbert Hoover 80 years ago. For that reason only I am thinking a Barack Obama victory will be good.

Along those lines, I am tired of this election year. Each side gets nastier as the days go by. Each side blames the other for the economic collapse, when really, both sides are to blame. Even after November 4th, we will have to put up with campaigning, as those wanting to run in 2012 will begin to make announcements on the 5th (or at least by Thanksgiving). Oy vey!

On the good news front, my daughter announced her engagement to a fine young man Monday. We are all happy for her. Now, do I go buy a suit at the clothing store that is going out of business, or do I wait to see if she wants me to rent a monkey suit. Perhaps I’ll get a suit either way, as that is something I can use for other occasions (like the other three children’s weddings).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

“Debates”: More of the same

So, I watched (and slept) through the presidential “debate” last night. Ho-hum. No wonder my fatigue took over. All I saw were two candidates repeating what they say on the stump. I really do not think either came out the winner, though Sen. Obama sounded better (even though he didn’t have much new to say). The moderator, Jim Lehrer, had a hard time getting them to answer the questions asked. Why do we still bother with these dog and pony shows, anyway? Are any undecided voters swayed by these, other than deciding for the guy they feel looks better on TV? Both candidates last night ignored the question about what they would cut from their plans in order to pay for the $700 billion bank bail out. At least John McCain finally offered up a spending freeze. Later, watching the talking heads discussing the show, mentioned that certain parts of the federal budget are set, and cannot be cut, leaving a small percentage that can be cut (called discretionary spending).

So, what did any of you think about the debate? Was there a clear winner? Does it really matter at this point?

(I respect Jim Lehrer, by the way, as a good journalist who keeps his opinions to himself, unlike many other so-called “objective” journalists.)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Autumn is near...

And I cannot wait. Yes, the cooler weather is great. But what a fall it is going to be! The presidential election looks like it is going to be electric with Sen. McCain picking Gov. Palen as his running mate. The World Series looks to have at least one of my teams this year, with my favorite Diamondbacks in the hunt for another division crown, and the Cubs, Mets and Cardinals also most likely going on to the post season. Too bad only one of the four can go to the series. I suppose since the Cubbies have waited so long, I’ll pull for them. At least then all the Cubs fans will be happy. (But then, what will Chicagoans have left to hope for?)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Various ramblings

So, I get on here and see it has been almost a month since I last posted. Therefore, it is time to again put something here so I don’t lose my two or three readers. After all, with 13 million blogs, and only 39 million bloggers, I need to do my part to keep the few dedicated friends happy! (I remember reading those numbers somewhere, but of course my forgetful self forgot the source.)

Here then are a few ramblings on various subjects in my mind.

Have you ever noticed that the “Yard of the Week” that smaller towns have are usually the same yards year after year? At least that is my theory. It is also my theory that the yards are owned by people with a lot of extra time on their hands, or enough money to hire a gardener. I barely have time in a week to mow the lawn, let alone plant pretty flowers and shrubs. If it were not for previous owners planting peonies and irises, our yard would be nothing but grass (or should I say, various weeds and grasses that look nice when mowed). Nor do I have the money to buy all those landscaping necessities (nor time to put them in the yard). I do not begrudge those who have a green thumb and like to use it. Neither do I begrudge them the honor of having their picture in the newspaper and a sign in the yard. As Jesus said, “They have their glory in full.” (I know that is not the context of that scripture, but it fits anyway.)

I believe it is time for the newspapers to honor those of us who keep our yards free of clutter and junk cars, mow the grass when needed and don’t let it get out of hand. How about a weekly “Normal Person’s yard of the Week”?

Speaking of lawns, this summer has been a lot wetter than the last few years. Normally I do not have to mow as much this time of year, as there is usually just a few weeds growing. One recent summer, I did not have to mow from early July to the middle of August, as it was so dry even the weeds couldn’t grow. Last year I had July grass in June (almost brown with green weeds). This year I have May grass in August (thick, wet, green grass).

This week was the Missouri state-wide primary election. I live in a rural, Democratic county. There are so few Republicans, that the GOP does not even run candidates for the local offices! However, most of the voters lean conservative. That is seen in the general election, especially in a Presidential race. You drive through the countryside and see yard signs for Democrats at all levels, except for president.

On the same subject, I am glad there are only a few more months until the November election. I got tired of the Presidential race last November, with all the caucus and primary elections news. Of course, the way it has been the last few cycles, the 2012 campaign will probably start November 6th!

All for now. Thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to stop by 3rd and College. At least leave me a note so I know you were here. (Since I moderate all comments, you can tell me if you do not want your note published.)

Addendum: At the request of a cousin, here are two pictures of my yard.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Help in time of need

Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past
(To hear tune of hymn, click on its title.)

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.

Thy Word commands our flesh to dust,
“Return, ye sons of men:”
All nations rose from earth at first,
And turn to earth again.

A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.

The busy tribes of flesh and blood,
With all their lives and cares,
Are carried downwards by the flood,
And lost in following years.

Time, like an ever rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.

Like flowery fields the nations stand
Pleased with the morning light;
The flowers beneath the mower’s hand
Lie withering ere ‘tis night.

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.

Last week, this hymn spoke to me in a special way. I was having a conflict with another person at my summer job. I have never been so worked up and anxious about anything at a job. Sunday, I was reading the daily passage from Charles Spurgeon when the local Lutheran Church bells started playing this hymn. The Lord spoke to me, reminding me that He is my help in any trouble. I closed the book, thanked the Lord and trusted Him. Later, at church, the hymns all spoke to my need, as did the message from a guest speaker.

What a God we serve who knows our every need and protects His own from the evil one! The next day at work went better than usual, as the other person was the nicest he has ever been.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Fading Joys, Heavenly Longings

Today, I begin comments on various hymns I enjoy both for their depth of thought and musical beauty. First up is one by Jane C. Bonar:

Fade, Fade each Earthly Joy

(To here the hymn, click on the title.)

Fade, fade, each earthly joy, Jesus is mine!
Break every tender tie, Jesus is mine!

Dark is the wilderness, Earth has no resting place,
Jesus alone can bless, Jesus is mine!

Tempt not my soul away, Jesus is mine!
Here would I ever stay, Jesus is mine!
Perishing things of clay, born but for one brief day,
Pass from my heart away, Jesus is mine!

Farewell, ye dreams of night, Jesus is mine!
Lost in this dawning bright, Jesus is mine!
All that my soul has tried left but a dismal void;
Jesus has satisfied, Jesus is mine!

Farewell, mortality, Jesus is mine!
Welcome, eternity, Jesus is mine!
Welcome, oh, loved and blest, welcome sweet scenes of rest,
Welcome, my Savior’s breast, Jesus is mine!

Yesterday we sang this hymn at church, which sparked a discussion on whether it is about a recent convert or an older saint. In many ways it is both. The first verse tells of breaking ties and how dark is the world to the Christian. This can be a new believer rejoicing in his new-found life, or an old saint looking back over his life, ready to break the earthly ties and go to meet his Lord.

Verses 2-4 are clearer in showing the thoughts of an elderly saint longing to leave this body of flesh behind and move on the higher and better things.

I see this hymn as a sort of New Testament version of Ecclesiastes. In that Old Testament book, the aged Solomon looks back with regret on how he ruined his life with sinful pursuits, that all he did was vanity and waste. This hymn is more of a aged or dying saint looking back on the earthly life, not with regret, but joy that his godly life is leading him to a heavenly eternity. And, like Paul the Apostle in Philippians 1, he cannot wait any longer to “absent from the body and be present with the Lord.”

Monday, June 16, 2008

Flood of 2008

We are in the midst of a flood here in NE Missouri. The mighty Mississippi is over its banks almost to the level of the great Flood of ’93.

I am reminded of another great flood. Genesis records the greatest flood ever, one that enveloped the whole world. God sent it because the hearts of men had become wicked. “
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). So He sent a flood and wiped out all but Noah and his family.

We all know that story. It is one every child hears. But it is a sad story. Think of all the destruction and misery suffered by those not in the ark. Imagine not having any way of escape as the waters rise. Think of watching the ark float away while clinging to the last piece of wood, floating helplessly to death. And yet, all those around Noah had opportunity to be on the ark. He preached for many years while building the ark, warning men to repent of their evil ways. But men laughed at him.

So, what about this year? Once more we are being warned to flee God’s wrath. He promised never to destroy the whole earth with water again. This surging of the waters reminds us that God is still God, and nothing we do can change the fact that man is evil and has no intent of serving anyone but himself. I watch the news and see all the labor going into the sandbagging, and have even helped out in the protecting of property. Some of it is no no avail.

But repentance from sin is never a waste. God’s wrath is abated when we turn away from our sin and look to Him, just as the flood waters are turned away by the levies and sandbags. “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD” (Gen. 6:8). We can be carried to safety by the ark if we are right with God. The ark is Jesus. Repent and be saved.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The marketplace in the temple

“Stop making my Father’s house a house of merchandise” John 2:16 (NASB).

So said Jesus when he cleansed the temple of the sellers and money changers. Many today do not realize that were Jesus to enter some modern places of worship, he might do the same thing. I have been to a few large churches and am disturbed by what I see: shops selling books, CDs and other material in the building; or even coffee shops imitating Starbuck’s on Sunday mornings. Another disturbing trend is selling tickets to concerts that take place in a church building. That is what auditoriums and sporting arenas are for. Keep the marketplace out!

(I realize musicians need to earn their living, but why don’t they trust the Lord they claim to serve for their income, rather than using worldly methods of promotion?)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Children ask deep questions

Well, sort of. Today was my last day of training for my summer job as a guide at a local cave. While deep inside, a child asked if the whole cave had been explored (there are over six miles of mapped passages, but the tour only goes through about a half mile). While the question itself is not deep (and you will pardon the pun about being deep in the cave when it was asked), it is kind of related this I read tonight about the love of God being much more than we can ever fathom. Men have spent years exploring this particular cave, and I am sure have recorded all there is to see in it. But man can never completely know the love of God, even if he spent the rest of eternity exploring it.

Friday, May 2, 2008

It’s Spring!

The weather outside has finally warmed up. I mowed the lawn for the first time this week. As I mowed, I praised God for the beauty of creation. We have a lot of what most would call weeds in our yard. I have never understood the idea of spraying the grass to keep the weeds away, when the flowers of the weeds add such color to the grass. We have white and purple violets here at 3rd and College, along with another purple flower I cannot identify (botany never was my forte) and the yellow of dandelions. While the latter is a pest when it goes to seed, it does offer a pretty contrast to the green grass. Most of these flowers are ground huggers, so I set the lawn mower a little higher and cut over them (I also waited too long this year, so all the rain caused the lawn to be six inches tall in places, too high for the usual setting).

At any rate, here is a little poem I wrote last spring for you reading pleasure.

In Spring birds sing.
Rain falls; love calls.
Trees green; young men preen.
Sky is blue; love is true.

Farmers plant; birds can’t.
Robins seek, worm in beak.
Rivers roar; geese soar.
Spring is sprung; new life’s begun.

(PSL Apr. 4, 2007)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Thoughts from Leviticus

I have been reading through Leviticus recently. It has often reminded me of driving through the desert or grasslands of the west while taking a car trip across the country. One sees the majesty of mountains and beauty of forests; the quaintness of farm land and small towns in other parts, but the desert and grasslands are not much for scenery. They are best for making good time — at night. I was told to look for Christ, and not for personal applications, in Leviticus. I think about all I can see is that the multitude of sacrifices described in the book all point to the one sacrifice that cancelled them all. I am not alone in this thinking. Here is this morning’s reading from C. H. Spurgeon’s devotional (italics original):

“Behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.”—Matthew 27:51.

NO mean miracle was wrought in the rending of so strong and thick a veil; but it was not intended merely as a display of power—many lessons were herein taught us. The old law of ordinances was put away, and like a worn-out vesture, rent and laid aside. When Jesus died, the sacrifices were all finished, because all fulfilled in Him, and therefore the place of their presentation was marked with an evident token of decay. That rent also revealed all the hidden things of the old dispensation: the mercy-seat could now be seen, and the glory of God gleamed forth above it. By the death of our Lord Jesus we have a clear revelation of God, for He was “not as Moses, who put a veil over his face.” Life and immortality are now brought to light, and things which have been hidden since the foundation of the world are manifest in Him. The annual ceremony of atonement was thus abolished. The atoning blood which was once every year sprinkled within the veil, was now offered once for all by the great High Priest, and therefore the place of the symbolical rite was broken up. No blood of bullocks or of lambs is needed now, for Jesus has entered within the veil with his own blood. Hence access to God is now permitted, and is the privilege of every believer in Christ Jesus. There is no small space laid open through which we may peer at the mercy-seat, but the rent reaches from the top to the bottom. We may come with boldness to the throne of the heavenly grace. Shall we err if we say that the opening of the Holy of Holies in this marvellous manner by our Lord's expiring cry was the type of the opening of the gates of paradise to all the saints by virtue of the Passion? Our bleeding Lord hath the key of heaven; He openeth and no man shutteth; let us enter in with Him into the heavenly places, and sit with Him there till our common enemies shall be made His footstool.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Politics, Basketball and Life

Well, I watched some of the NCAA “March Madness” over the weekend. It is always interesting to watch the small, #16 seed try and defeat the big guys. Never has it happened, yet there is always the possibility. However, a few times the #15 seed humiliates the #2. This year, it was the little school called Belmont almost upsetting the mighty Duke University. Of course, later in the day, another “David” eliminated the “Goliath” it faced, as #13 seed San Diego surprised #4 UConn. Those who follow college basketball know that both Duke and UConn are power houses that usually do well, and that is why they were seeded so high. But of course, those of us who watched or checked later found out that Duke did indeed fall to the #7 seed West Virginia in the second round.

So, what does this have to do with politics and life? Look at the current presidential campaign. Early on, everyone thought that Sen. Hillary Clinton was a shoe in for the Democratic nomination. Then, along came a freshman Senator from Illinois with all his charm, youth and good looks, and she is in the battle of her political life. On the Republican side, the media darling, experienced, senior Senator from Arizona looked for all intents and purposes to be washed out last fall, with little money and a campaign staff that was falling apart. Mitt Romney, the “#1 seed” from Massachusetts, looked to be the nominee. Then along came a lessor known former governor from a small, Southern state, with all his charm and good looks, as well as a funny name. The pundits claim he, Mike Huckabee, stole a lot of the Conservative votes from Romney, thus giving the nod to McCain, who now is the proverbial phoenix, rising from the ashes of sure defeat and claiming the nomination of the Grand Old Party. Sounds a lot like an overtime basketball game to me.

Now, for the final analogy. In life, we are all faced with struggles that look like insurmountable impossibilities. Even our beginning in the womb as an invisible combination of our parents’ DNA seems impossible. In nine short months, we go from a microscopic embryo to a seven pound or so bundle of joy. Then, with the help of our parents, our fragile, helpless selves become growing children, facing the challenges of school and playground, sickness and injury, tests and competitions. Then, before we realize it, we are adults, hopefully ready to take on the world and become “successful” members of society. Somehow, we survive the onslaught and go from a #16 seed to a conquering, victorious #1 Champion.

Now, give glory to the God who made you and helped you through to this point. Even if you don’t know Him, He is there. Don’t believe me? Read this, written by the David mentioned above, who killed the giant Goliath with a stone and slingshot:

O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” even the night shall be light about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. (Psalm 139:1-16, NKJV)

God knows you better than you know yourself.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

This is the day

Random thoughts on a winter’s day.

David said: “This is the day the LORD has made. Let us and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24) I often have to be reminded of that. Here in Missouri, winter seems to linger on and on. We have days of below freezing with some snow and ice, followed by a day or two of warm (or relatively warm) weather. Of course, it is hard to enjoy the warmth when the forecast calls for another round of winter weather!

I was reading to my youngest the other day, and came across this quote (a father telling his daughter why she should not use improper grammar, even in informal settings): “Language is the clothing for your thoughts, my dear. A thought surely deserves to be dressed in its very best when it enters the world.” I whole-heartedly agree. I find it hard to write an email or IM note without using correct punctuation and grammar. It must be the teacher in me.

The school year is getting long. February and March are always the hardest months. Grey, cold days; long stretches with no holidays; students who give up and let their grades slide. I tell them the third quarter is the hardest, both because of the dreariness of this time of year, and the fact the material gets tougher. They never believe me until a week or two before report cards come out and their grade is not as high as they would wish. I had a prof in grad school who theorized that once a student gets half way though a term, that the grade is pretty much what it will be at the end, and there is not much one can do to change it. Try telling that to an almost 16-year-old who has been told he cannot get his driver’s permit if he has any poor grades!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

On politics

Well, I voted today in the Super Tuesday primary here in Missouri. All I can say is, I am glad God is in ultimate control of the outcome. However, I have a few words to say to my fellow Conservatives disappointed in our choices.

Listen and heed: DO NOT stay home!!! I believe the RNC will learn a bitter lesson this year in being the reason the Dems win the White House. If we stay home, they will continue to give us lousy choices. If we vote in droves for 3rd party candidates or for Dems, the RNC will have to listen, especially if we all send them a letter telling them why we refuse to vote for a Democrat in disguise. Write to the RNC (Republican National Committee) at:
310 First Street, Washington, D. C. 20003
Call: 202.863.8500
Fax: 202.863.8820
Email: info@gop.com

Flood them with requests for real Conservative candidates who stand for the US and those values and issues that got Ronald Reagan elected in two landslides. Otherwise, the Republicans deserve to lose.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


All I can say is “Brrr!” Today we took the dog to the vet for her annual rabies shot/checkup. The mini van did not get very warm during the ten minute drive. It was only 6°F!

At times like this I am reminded of the first time I ever heard Keith McLeod, a Canadian evangelist, back in 1976. He was speaking from Genesis 3, about the Fall of Adam and Eve. I don’t remember much about the main part of the sermon, but what stands out to me is what he said concerning weather. He said that the Garden of Eden was most likely 75° or warmer, since Adam and Eve were naked, yet comfortable. Since they fell, the weather extremes we experience remind us of their sin. When we are too cold in winter, we should remember the Fall. When it is scorching in summer, we should remember the Fall. (Side note: The next time I heard Bro. McLeod, it was a record breaking -23°F! He joked that it felt warm, as it was -68°F when he left Canada.)

So, this winter as we shiver our way through the cold, let us remember not only the Fall, but the redemption provided for us when Christ Jesus died on the cross of Calvary. Adam and Eve, as far as we know, never knew redemption and forgiveness from God for their sin. That does not matter. The main question is, am I forgiven? Are you?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Peace like a river.

I have always enjoyed singing the hymn “It is well with my soul”. The meaning of the first verse never really came clear until I moved to my current home. The lines “When peace like a river attendeth my way ...” make a beautiful picture, but I grew up in a desert, far from any flowing river. I now live in a house overlooking the Mississippi River. Every day I see it flowing by. Some days in particular the river is so calm, it looks like glass. Peaceful, soothing.

So, what is the message of the hymn? Mr. Spafford wrote the song while on a ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Earlier, he had lost his daughters in a shipwreck. He found peace with God in his grief. There really is not a better picture of peace than a calm river. When I sit by the river on a calm day, I am reminded of the peace of God. “It is well with my soul.” Is it well with yours?