Getting back to where you were. . .

A program on my computer just about wiped everything I am familiar with off of my computer.  Or maybe is scrambled it at the very least.  It is a bit frustrating.  To make matters worse, what I expected to find on my WordPress site is not the same.  It may be partly my fault for not reading the informative blog WP issues almost every Monday without fail.

Am I the only one who gets stuck in a rut?  Truth is, I feel comfortable in my rut.  In all my life, I have not liked surprises that tend to “broadside” me.  Good friend usually give me a gentle warning when a change is in the works.  It takes a bit of time, sometimes short, and sometimes lengthy, to mentally meet the challenge of change.  Once I get used to a new method, guess what, I just make a new rut!

Expectations, in my opinion, need to be realistic.  I am not an optimist, nor a pessimist.  Somewhere in between lies realism.  Most people who face life realistically also can roll with the punches, so to speak. We quietly adjust while we inwardly cope with a surprise.  So, I may have found my way back on WP, maybe.  I’ll see when it goes into the “publish” stage.  I do not fault WP at all.  It was the click of the mouse, and an over-easy egg turned into a scrambled one.  Perhaps I needed the challenge today. And I am reminded that the Bible warns me, “Boast not thyself of tomorrow, because you don’t know what the day will bring forth.” (Proverbs 27:1)

Well, here goes. . .

 

David, Goliath, and the KC Chiefs

Last week I started but did not finish a devotional study on David and Goliath.  I bit off a little more than I could chew for a half hour time slot. This week I will complete it, and I’m rather glad that I have one more go at it. For over twenty years I taught grades 3-6 in Children’s Church.  Although the children had heard the story over several teaching times in Sunday school and later in Children’s church, I never had difficulty holding their attention when I told this wonderful account.  Charles Swindoll, author of The Life of David in one of the books in his Great Lives series, calls the account, “David and the Dwarf.”  Swindoll declares the truth when he tells that the only giant in David’s life was the Lord God.

Throughout the days of last week the news continually covered segments about the upcoming Super Bowl.  Along with that, last week it seemed that almost every day Rev. Franklin Graham ran a small feature about athletes who are outspoken Christians.  It came to my attention that the Kansas City Chiefs unashamedly carry on a testimony of spiritual strength.  I am not a football fan, baseball is my favorite sport, but I sort of went along with the flow of events and found myself wanting the Chiefs to win.  My reason?

After seeing several accounts about spiritual activity among the Chiefs, it began to concern me that if they did not win, perhaps the power of God might become tarnished in the eyes of others.  The reason sort of generated into a “David and Goliath” thing. With the astounding overcoming victory in the 4th quarter, I’d say, God, indeed, did come through!  Once a person or group establishes a testimony, it is important to do all one can to show God strong during conflict.

What if they’d lost?  I’d hope they would have lost with a good sportsmanship attitude and a grace that only God can give.  Either way, I do think they are winners.  Congratulations to the entire team of the Kansas City Chiefs.

 

 

Trees

We are instructed in Psalm 1 that if we walk with godly people, display a peaceful attitude, do not consider the counsel of sinners, and delight ourselves in the Word of God, we will be like trees planted near water.  Such trees flourish with healthy green foliage and produce fruit. Like that tree, the person described in the opening of Psalm 1, will experience success.

Longing for snow, I gazed  intently at the snapshot that graces my monitor desktop.  I snapped the photo in February, 2015 according to the date in my photo gallery.  The winter photo is from my front doorstep after a sizeable snow.  Interestingly to me, five trees in that picture are no longer growing in my yard or the yards across the street.  Three of the trees were simply planted in the wrong place and as they matured, they disturbed the houses they were planted too close to.  The other two were moved to make more room for an expanded driveway.

One tree was not only planted in a poorly planned place, it was slowly dying.  In some ways, it is like a tree that welcomes counsel of the ungodly and furthermore, it was not bearing useable fruit.  It bore ornamental crab apples that made only a mess all around it each autumn. That tree was mine and I finally had it removed.  It was nothing but a nuisance.  Now, know this:  I did not plant it.  The former owner of the property planted it.  I am sure it was with good intentions, but sometimes things just don’t work out for the best.

If I will delight in the law of the Lord; meditate on it by allowing it to occupy my thoughts through the day and evening,  refrain from ungodly counsel and never give in to scorn, I won’t have to be forcefully removed.  That is my desire.
It is interesting what thoughts can fill our minds and hearts, simply from longing for snow so much as to stare ever so closely to a random snapshot from five years ago.

This is just an insight from the Good Shepherd whose presence I enjoy.

 

Benjamin Franklin speaks. . .

Political division is intense today; it was intense in the Constitutional Convention when America was a fledgling nation.  We will always have differences of opinion.  It is human nature.  It is worth the time to read and feel the intensity of Franklin’s words when he addresses the assembly with the proposition that each day of convention be opened with prayer.  Here it is:

“Mr. President.—The small progress we have made after four or five weeks close attendance and continual reasonings with each other—our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many nays, as ayes—is, methinks, a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the human understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, since we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of government, and examined the different forms of those republics which, having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution, now no longer exist. And we have viewed modern states all round Europe, but find none of their constitutions suitable to our circumstances.

In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights, to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this ; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel. We shall be divided by our little partial local interests ; our projects will be confounded ; and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a by-word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move—that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.”

As far as I know, each body of our legislature opens in prayer each day it is in session.  It is also Franklin who wrote in Poor Richard’s Almanac that “Many have quarreled about religion that never practice it.”  I challenge all Americans who stop to read this post to stop and pray for our struggling nation. God does govern in the affairs of men and we must implore the one who created light to enlighten us and our nation to walk peacefully together.

 

 

 

 

It’s Greek to Me!

Mechanics is a foreign language to me.  Assembly instructions baffle me.  However, I can read a sewing pattern. Even some sewing patterns were more difficult, and I preferred the brand “Simplicity.”  I found that other brands sometimes left steps out of the assembly and expected all sewers to be accomplished enough to know what to do next.

Last week I was having an exceptionally bad day seeing well.  When I enlarged my screen size on my monitor to a larger size, however, it was too large and came forth with fuzziness.  Because I was struggling, somehow, I selected a language change and suddenly everything was in French. At least I recognized the language as being French.  Years ago, I studied two years of Greek—the dead language of the New Testament but that was no help at all.  Transliteration sometimes works well enough to manage through a situation and I did conclude a few words.  I could change the language back to English if I could translate the French.

Ah, simple.  Call Denise.  She speaks fluent French and has lived in a French-speaking country. The roles are changing in my latter years.  I find myself calling my children for help.  They used to call me.  After a chuckle at my problem, she logged on to Facebook, which is where I was seeing everything in French, and coached me through my conundrum.

Always looking for a life-lesson from a circumstance, it occurred to me that the Bible is such a puzzle to so many people.  When that is the case, by all means find help!  Church is a good place to start, and one of the biggest helps to me was Christian radio.  Bible teaching coached me through myriads of questions.  Bible study tools are helpful, but in the end, the best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself.  I love the simple truth Jesus left his disciples when He told them in John 15:3 “Now you are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you.”  The cleansing of God’s Word is much the same as placing an empty milk glass under a faucet and letting the water dilute and clean away every drop of milk left behind.  God’s Word is quick (alive) and powerful if only we will allow its words to do their work as we simply absorb them through consistent reading.

I now have my computer giving me text in U.S. English and I am being very cautious before I click on anything!

The Diffuser

One of the many ways that I use essential oils is in a small diffuser.  I tried other methods of getting the aromas into the air, but finally parted with money last winter and purchased an electric diffuser.  As in many things, once we get the right tool, we wonder what we did without it. The fine mist of aromatherapy does wonders for me with both physical and emotional health.

This morning a tragic thing happened.  The diffuser fell from the table to the floor.  Where there had been very small decorative holes, there is now a gaping hole. The exterior is no longer perfect.  But the good news is that the diffuser itself is merrily working along as if nothing happened to it at all.  Had it fallen totally onto the carpeting, it probably would not have broken at all, but alas, part of it hit the metal register in the floor.

Right at the start of 2020 the diffuser met an unfortunate blow, but it is not discouraged.  It just isn’t as pretty as it used to be. BUT I can turn the big hole to the wall, and no one needs to even know.  The aroma is sailing through the air in my work room as it does on any other day.

Just because you resolved to change something on January 1 and stumbled on January 2 doesn’t mean you should stop.  Put the stumble behind you, even as I turned that big ole hole to the wall and keep right on moving toward your goal.  Discouragement is a tool of Satan and Satan never has your good in mind. Never.

Keep putting out healing to those around you.

Wishing you a year of mixed blessings in 2020.

 

Fifty-Fifty: A Christmas Doodle

If a person goes to lunch with a friend and beforehand agree to “go Dutch” you each pay for your own lunch.  Usually, you eat about the same size lunch, so it is pretty much fifty-fifty, and one usually volunteers the tip.

If half of a responsibility is one person’s while the remainder is responsibility of a co-worker, generally we hope that the job is split on a fifty-fifty basis.  No one wants to shoulder 75% while the other gets the easy load.

Another example that used to happen often at our dinner table was splitting the last piece of cake.  We solved it by having one cut it in half and allowing the other person to choose which half he wanted.  That kept things a fifty-fifty deal.

When it comes to marriage, that is a whole other concept.  Marriage is not fifty-fifty.  Nope.  It is 100% and 100% for each other.  The same is true of friendship.  It can not be all give and on one person’s part.  Selfishness causes friendships to dissolve.

When it comes to Jesus—He was 100% God and 100% human. Sometimes too far into adulthood, our concept of Jesus is wrong.  We tend to forget that Jesus was subject to human wants and needs, while at the same time, God in every aspect.  Even when He was a baby.  So, the line from the now favorite Christmas song, “Mary, Did You Know?” Mary did kiss the face of God.  She cared for Him in His helpless state of infancy.  No wonder Luke tells us that “Mary kept all these things in her heart and pondered them.” (Luke 2:19)  Most mothers hold their newborn children and ponder what will happen in the future of the baby.  Mary was no different.  Except—she knew this was no average baby. She was holding God.

 

 

The American Vice Presidency: From Irrelevance to Power (book review)

The American Vice Presidency:  From Irrelevance to Power, written by Jules Witcover, copyright 2014, is published by Smithsonian Books.  I did research availability on Amazon and it is available in both hardcover and Kindle.  The hardcover book is 592 pages.  I “read” the boo via Talking Books and it is 20 hours of listening time. Most public libraries will have a copy you can borrow.

The book does cover every serving Vice President from Adams to Biden.  The author cites many sources and had interviews with living vice presidents as he authored the book.  In some cases, he had interviews with Presidents who had once been vice president, such as Gerald Ford.  In the conclusion of the book, Witcover discusses the fact that he used more than 300 sources for the book.

I would suppose that in the 42 chapters, each vice president is given approximately 12-15 pages.  However, as the book comes into modern times, the chapters lengthen.  For the most part, the author presents a work that is mostly unbiased and factual.  One thing I missed was the personal touch of including some humor or family stories.  One must like history a whole lot to keep reading.  In most of the cases, Witcover includes heated elections and political conventions.

Since I have read either a biography or autobiography of every American President, I found this book plausible.  In many cases, it confirmed things I already knew.  I knew that L. B. Johnson was difficult to please, and it further confirmed that in this book.  I knew that the Bush family was gracious and good to the people with whom they worked and again, this book confirmed that fact. Facts about the Kennedy presidency were somewhat lacking in relationship to L. B. Johnson and that was disappointing.

In the case of expletives frequently used by both Nixon and Truman, the author did not hesitate to use them when quoting them. Other presidents used four-letter words but not as frequently as those two.  I put that in the review as a warning. If you are going to be offended by a mild sprinkling of expletives, this book will offend.  I don’t believe, however, that any of the language took the Lord’s name in vain.

For those of you, like me, love American history and want a glimpse few see of the office of vice president, this will be a pleasant read.  I predict that the book will be around for reading for quite a long time.  It is a valuable collection of portraits of our country’s second highest executive office.  It is, indeed, 592 pages of learning.

 

Transitions Doodle

Remember Transformers?  Maybe they are still around, and I don’t notice because my grandsons are too old to look for such things anymore.  If one were to bend and twist the parts, they became entirely different.  Well, yesterday was Thanksgiving and today it is Christmas.  That is transformation.  Just this morning I head newscasters mention the economy tied to Christmas shopping.  Two meaningful holidays are corrupted with commercialization.

When I was a child on the farm in central Wisconsin, we did not have turkey on Thanksgiving.  We had roast duck or goose.  We had them because that is what we raised.  We literally lived off the land by eating what we grew.  Beef, pork, eggs, veal, chicken, duck, and goose appeared at our tables but not turkey or mutton. Home canned vegetables of a wide assortment, and root crops like potatoes, onions, beets, carrots, turnips, parsnips, and rutabaga were buried in the sand in our cellar and tasted fresh in the cold months of January and February cooked together in a luscious homemade vegetable soup. Yum!  Thinking back on it, I think we ate quite well and were seldom sickly. We did not have turkey and all the trimmings at Thanksgiving.  We didn’t eat “store bought” food.  I had no idea we were considered poor.

I tend to transition slowly into Christmas.  Today I took down Christmas cards from the storage shelf and will start filling them in.  I do it slowly with a personal message on most of them.  It takes awhile.  So many people are special to me and I want them to know it.  My gift to them is a personal message.  From greeting cards I’ll transition into a baking station in my kitchen where I produce gifts from my kitchen.  Cookies and breads come from my hands and my heart.

My outdoor Christmas lights are up early because I employed the help of grandson and son-in-law to put them up for me since my kids frown on my climbing a ladder.  Indoor decorations will go up in a few days piecemeal.  The tree, the nativity set I painted myself in ceramics class years ago, the fake poinsettia, a couple of candle arrangements.  I’ve thinned out my collection and most of my decorations have fond memories attached.  I’ll swap out coffee mugs and dish towels, all sentimental things.

The best transition I ever made in my life was becoming a new creature in Christ.  God did that in a moment!  One minute I was a lost sinner, and the next minute a converted child of God.  Yet, growth in the Christian life has been a slow transition over the years.  I have not yet arrived a fully developed saintly person.  God isn’t finished with me yet; He is still working on me.  God is the only One who knows when my clock of life is going to be complete and I will transition into a glorified being and take me Home in Heaven.

And that’s what I’ve been thinking about this morning. I wanted to say that I hope your Thanksgiving was truly a day of returning thanks to God who allowed it all and wish you a month of joy as you share yourself with others this Christmas, and then go into 2020 with resolve to live fully for the Savior.  All combined, I wish you a Happy Holiday season.

 

 

 

The Bible and the Weather

Last year as I read my Bible through, I began marking “wea” next to verses that referred to our world’s weather.  Today I read an article on “The Daily Signal” Facebook page about the dishonesty of politicians and climate science.  One of the big dictionaries in our country recently added the word(s) climate emergency to its pages. Really.  Their definition does not fall into the realm of a common sense definition would be.  A tornado might be a climate emergency of some sort, or a blizzard.  Our weather is now a political football!

Noah’s Flood might be a climate emergency!  Before the flood, scientist Henry Morris, tells readers in his book The Genesis Flood, that a constant temperature          was world-wide.  The earth was protected by a canopy of water from harmful radiation from the sun. After the flood, the temperatures have changed, because the canopy of water is now gone.  It was used for the world-wide flood.  Since the time after the Flood the seasons were established of seedtime and harvest, warm and cold.

Now, I add to that the premise of a book I am currently reading, If You Can Keep It: the Forgotten Promise of American Liberty.  The author, Eric Metaxas uses the premise suggested by another author and friend, Os Guiness, that our country stands on a three-legged stool of virtue, faith, and freedom.  If one leg is shorter than the other, or all are uneven, we have at best a wobbly foundation.  He is correct.  Honesty is a virtue.  Virtue is dependent on faith and the understanding of faith is Bible-based. Virtue and faith produce freedom.  Dishonesty is faithless.  It is selfish and produces enslavement.  It is just that simple.

Going back now, to climate emergency, I see those who are predicting, like the little red hen, that the “sky is falling” are being dishonest.  Climate changes have stood through all time.  Elijah boldly called for a drought and it didn’t rain for three and one half years.  Ahab and Jezebel hated Elijah for that but God protected him. That is just one example of many places when God controlled the climate.  What about Joshua’s long day when the sun stood still!

Now, if you say, “That is all fantasy!  I don’t believe the Bible.”  That is your choice, but don’t force your choice on me.  If you don’t have faith, you will not easily have virtue and without virtue and faith, you have no freedom—yet that is the very thing you yearn for!  You want freedom to enslave those who do not believe the way you do!

My Sovereign God is in control.  His ways are past finding out, but we do get insight from the pages of the inspired Book He left us:  The Holy Word of God.  Read it, think on it, and you will find answers to questions you have not even been smart enough to ask.