Life Hacks

In my generation, I am a 1943 model, if something was hacked up it was a rather sorry mess.  When I first learned how to cut a whole chicken into pieces for frying, it was hacked up and certainly could never be served in a restaurant.  When my mother instructed me on how to cut out a pattern for a skirt or blouse, she was very serious that I not hack up a good piece of cloth.  Every notch held importance and could not be hacked off.  My family was very kind to me and never made fun of my odd pieces of chicken or splintered pieces of kindling for firewood.

Sine the early 21st century, we have had the term hack take a new dimension.  It started with computer technology.  If someone enters my personal space in my computer, he is called a hacker.  I suppose that is done by a rough, unconventional technique and therefore, a hack.  I understood the term from that prospective.

Newer in the term of hacking however, is a life hack.    Now it seems to have evolved in meaning to be a short-cut to achieving something that used to take a long, and even creative/artistic approach.  How very far we have come from the Webster 1828 version of the dictionary.  With that mentality of short cuts, does it become acceptable to always look for the easy way to do things?  So, I give this as an example:  A baker makes a pie for an entry to the county fair.  The filling is mouth-wateringly delicious.  The crust is acceptable, but not the flakiness one would expect in a competition.  Come to find out, the crust was one of those refrigerated kinds one buys in the grocery store.  Therefore, the pie is disqualified.  Why?  It does not meet the requirements.  Everything must be made by hand.

If we have in our households children who learn only the short cuts, there will not be any quality control.  They never knew how to make a pie crust by hand if mom always buys the ready- made kind.  So it is in the Christian walk.  God requires that sin be confessed.  There are not quick fixes in introspection.  It takes time to look deeper with no short cuts.  The “hacks” will lead to a shallow, emotionally fed life rather than a consistent, fulfilling walk with God.

Don’t be tempted to short cut your time with God.  Take more than a minute of two in prayer.  No wonder the fields are white unto harvest, but the laborers are few.  Matthew 9:37-38.  This passion week, I encourage you to take your time reading the events from the Triumphal Entry through the Resurrection.  No short cuts.  No life hack.

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Mind Doodles 2

Two things occupied my mind this afternoon.  One was foremost on my mind when I saw the tragic bridge collapse in Miami in combination with the school shooting news that lingers still.  Florida’s Governor Scott has his hands full!

The news outlets, whether main stream, or even professing Christian outlets are missing something.  Eternity is long and unchangeable.  Therefore, as early as a child can understand the choice between Jesus and eternity without Jesus, they should make the decision for themselves.  The gravity of that decision cannot be underestimated.  The question everyone must answer is this:  Am I ready to die?

Whether it is a child going to school, or a person driving to work or shopping, or whether an intruder enters a home the question is the same.  Am I ready to die?

The answer lies in the decision of what to do about eternity.  Jesus declared “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man comes to the Father except by me.” (John 14:6) Jesus gave us the gift of salvation by becoming my sacrifice—taking my place, my punishment.  I can accept that gift by faith or I can reject that gift.  The choice is mine, and yours.

Doodle 2.  I went to get a haircut today.  Since I go to a “get-in-line” place to get a haircut, I never know who is going to cut my hair.  I try to get the same person if I can but today, she was not at work.  The lady that cut my hair spoke English, but with a foreign accent I couldn’t identify.  She answered my unspoken question when she said she was from East Europe.  When I asked her how long she had been in America she replied with pride that she had become a citizen thirty years ago.  Then I said a dangerous thing.  I say dangerous because the success of my haircut could have ridden on how excitable she could become.  I asked her how she felt about our current immigration problems.  She was calm, but forceful in her answer.  “Everyone should come legally like she did, learn English, and take the citizen requirement or go back home.  She was about finished with the cut when I asked her to stack the back just a little bit more.  Now mix that with her stance on immigration, and let’s say, the back is nice and short, and it IS stacked.  Upon leaving I thanked her for being a good citizen and coming here legally.  She smiled and said, “I am happy to be an American.”

Me too.  I can’t think of a country I would rather live in myself.

Launch Out into the Deep

Peter didn’t know Jesus very well when Jesus said those words to him.  Like others in Galilee Peter had heard Jesus speak and felt a compelling respect for him.  When we develop a budding friendship with someone, we often hold back a little before we share our opinions and certainly our hearts.  Peter was no different. My rule is to be friendly—always. When forming a friendship—use caution.

Peter knew about Jesus.  He had heard John the Baptist say the commanding words, “Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world” and Andrew said, “Peter, come meet this amazing person” and Peter met Jesus face to face.  Then came the day that Jesus came to the city in which Peter lived and worked.  Jesus went to the synagogue to teach and then, oh then, he came to the home of Peter.  Luke chapter 5 doesn’t give us all the details of whether Peter had casually said to Jesus beforehand, “If you ever come to Capernaum, stop in and see us.”  Perhaps he did, perhaps he didn’t.  All I know is that Jesus stopped to visit.  It so happened that when he visited, he found a lady sick of a high fever.  Peter’s mother-in-law was very ill.  Jesus, the Bible tells us, stood by her bedside, rebuked the fever, and it left her!  No aspirin.  Just words.  Not only was the fever gone, she immediately got off her sick bed and found something to do for the family and Jesus!

That evening many people found Jesus and brought their loved ones who were sick, and Jesus healed them.  The next day, Jesus went to the Sea of Galilee and a crowd gathered to hear what he might say.  The crowd grew so large that Jesus was forced into the water and slipped into a boat.  Not just any boat.  Peter’s boat.  When Jesus finished what he was saying, he said those driving words to my heart:  “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets. . .”  Peter wanted to just row back to shore.  They had fished all night and caught nothing.  But then he remembered the day before.  This Jesus who compelled respect should be obeyed.  Peter replied, “Because You say so” and when he let down the net, fish came swimming for all over and filled the nets!

When you go fishing with Jesus, always obey.  Later in the day, the same day, Jesus asked Peter to leave fishing and follow him.  Peter did that.  For three years Peter witnessed amazing events.  Why?  Peter launched out into the deep. What looked hopeless became possible because Jesus was present.

 

Martin Luther (book review)

I chose to listen to the audio book, Martin Luther, written and read by author Eric Metaxas.  It is produced by Books on Tape and provided 16 listening discs.  Copyright 2017. The cite address is booksontape.com.  I found it at my local public library.  It is twenty hours of listening.

Metaxas wrote this book to be released in conjunction with the 500th anniversary of Luther’s action of fastening the document now called the 95 Theses on the door of Wittenberg Castle Church in 1517.  The ninety-five grievances were written to bring exposure to the sale indulgences provided by the Papal authority in the Holy Roman Empire.

Had I read this book instead of listening, I am not sure I would have completed it.  The work is exemplary in scholarship, given to a post-college vocabulary; and steeped in detail. Yet, by listening to the book, I have to say, I enjoyed the intricate history involved.  Details of history scoured from endless correspondence and books written by Luther is without argument, a fine work.

Metaxas starts before Luther’s birth to post-death which covers more than 60 years of Luther’s life.  He wades through details that other authors would ignore but in doing so, makes the person of Luther spring to life.

On a personal note, I think Metaxas also ignores that fact that the believers in Christ from the early church in Jerusalem have survived because God has promised that not on jot or tittle of God’s Word will ever be destroyed.  It took 1500 years of history for the Catholic church to gain such enormous power as to control a whole continent, but all though it, there were healthy, thriving churches carrying out the great commission.

In the epilogue, Metaxas does give recognition to the fact that without Luther, America may well have had a state church of some sort.  Freedom on choice was born with vigor during the years of the Reformation that Luther started and stayed with even when it looked as if the fires of the Reformation would dwindle and die.  Those were agonizing years for Luther that few authors give attendance to.  So, I applaud this lengthy work and recommend it but, I do recommend the audio version because you can do other things while you listen.  I do enjoy audio books!  I hope the book will thrive but to the average reader, it may have wobbly legs.

Rise above the average!  Give it a try.  If you enjoy history and thrive on it, you will find the work absolutely fascinating.

 

 

In This Very Room

I so seldom just jot something down and publish it, but this morning is different.  I have come off a week of soaking in the reality of living and dying with the passing of Dr. Billy Graham.  While it had to be difficult for his family to have his memorial service held off so that all of America could join in mourning with them, they did it.  They did it for us.  Franklin Graham made the message of salvation so crystal clear in the funeral yesterday that there was no mistaking the message he wanted to convey not only from his heart, but from his father’s heart as well.

 

Still feeling the need for quiet this morning, I turned to a favorite on You Tube.  It is a mix of the Haven of Rest Quartet.  In the mix was this beautiful song “In This Very Room.”  I give you the link so you may listen, but I also give you the lyrics.  Let the song soak into your soul.  If you know Jesus as your personal Savior, you will revel in the ever-presence of Jesus every day, all day.  Gathering for fellowship and worship is fine, but best of all is the time spent alone with the One who loves us lavishly and endows us with wisdom beyond compare and power to fulfill what He has commissioned us to do.

Have a listen and follow the words:

1 In this very room there’s quite enough love for one like me,

And in this very room there’s quite enough joy for one like me,

And there’s quite enough hope and quite enough power to chase away any gloom,

For Jesus, Lord Jesus … is in this very room.

 

2 In this very room there’s quite enough love for all of us,

And in this very room there’s quite enough joy for all of us,

And there’s quite enough hope and quite enough power to chase away any gloom,

For Jesus, our Lord Jesus … is in this very room.

 

3 In this very room there’s quite enough love for all the world,

And in this very room there’s quite enough joy for all the world,

And there’s quite enough hope and quite enough power to chase away any gloom,

For Jesus, Lord Jesus … is in this very room.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xM0fdIGdkY&feature=share

 

 

Billy Graham: My Thoughts

Samaritan’s Purse, a branch of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, ran a Facebook Live feature Saturday (February 24, 2018) morning.  I was able to watch/listen to most of it before the signal died out on me.  I find his story fascinating and when I read his book, Nearing Home, back in 2016, I found it filled to the brim with scripture and sage advice.  I wrote a review on it in May, 2016 that you can find in the archives on this blog site.

My first notice of Graham was probably in 1959 on television.  I turned on a crusade and as soon as my mother heard it, she ordered me to turn it off.  She said he was a heretic.  I had just begun attending a little Baptist church in town, so I asked the pastor’s wife about Graham.  She told me, “Karyl, anyone who teaches from the Word of God is bound to win people to Christ.  However, Graham is cooperative with all denominations, so I would be careful about listening to him.”  I came to Christ in 1960 and my curiosity in Graham continued.  When my parents were not home, and I could watch him on television, or read a column in the Milwaukee Journal, I did.  Then I went to Pillsbury Baptist Bible College.  No one. I do mean NO ONE, had anything good to say about Billy Graham.  I heard all manner of compromising evil about him.  Somehow, I was never totally turned away from him.

One day as I was reading my Bible I saw the confrontations that the Apostle Paul suffered.  The very people condemned him he had won to Christ.  He suffered it gracefully and went right on doing what he was doing.  When Paul wrote to the Philippian believers, he said:  “Notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and I do therefore rejoice, and will rejoice.”  To that I say a hearty, “Amen!”  So many times, the critical ones are not even actively winning souls to Christ.  They are just contentious debaters over things of no consequence.

Two words that describe Graham keep coming up in tribute to him:  integrity, and humility.  Graham’s goal was to reach as many people with the life-saving truth of the gospel.  How can you fault a man for that?  I have read biographies of many people who came to Christ at one crusade or another, or like me, regularly read a newspaper column that inspired me to seek the truth of the Bible for answers until I came to Christ one day.  My soul mattered to Billy Graham but first it mattered to God and God used the curiosity of a little farm girl in central Wisconsin to find Christ.

It didn’t take long for a naysayer to post something negative about Graham.  Shame on those who criticize the ones who dare to do great things for God.  Shame. Shame. Shame.
I do not idolize Graham.  I do rejoice in the fact that he held up Christ and the truth of salvation through faith, by grace as the standard for salvation.  He clearly preached the need for repentance.  I do think that his testimony of honesty and humility are to be emulated. I will continue to pray for Samaritan’s Purse because they do an invaluable work and take no government funding.  Our country needs Samaritan’s Purse and more organizations like them.  Praise the Lord for Billy Graham’s life.

 

 

Gifted Mind (book review)

The book, an autobiography, Gifted Mind:  the Dr. Raymond Damadian Story, Inventor of the MRI, is 240 pages in length.  It was published in 2015 by Master Books, a division of New Leaf Publications located in Green Forest, AR.

I found this book on a listing produced daily by Christian Book Finds.  Dr. Damadian was not only a doctor, but also a Christian.  He came to Christ at a Billy Graham Crusade in Madison Square Garden because a friend invited him along.  He was a young tennis pro at the time saving money to further his education.

Damadian’s journey is one like many of our own lives:  it is full of twists and turns and times of searching for truth.  He found a path into the field of medicine and refined it to research after graduation.  I wish I could say that he was faithful to the Lord through it all, but I cannot.  God, however, was faithful to him.

Through hours upon hours of painstaking research he discovered one-cell research that diseased cells did look very different from healthy cells.  What started as hardly more than a two-inch test tube in a newly invented contraption, NMR, he discovered that a magnetic image could be seen.  From the borrowed NMR, he proceeded to build a larger machine and dropped the “N” (nuclear) part of the contraption because “nuclear” frightened everybody.  The fact is, his first experiment with a living specimen, a mouse, did not escape death in the experimental process.  Years later, when Damadian sat on the edge of personal testing himself, he said, he surely did remember “Pioneer Mouse 1’s demise.

Through numerous articles published in Medical Journals, Damadian was recommended for the Nobel Prize.  He writes a lengthy dissertation on how the Nobel Prize committee denied him the prize and gave it to a competitor who indeed did NOT discover the cell differences nor achieve the first way to detect them through magnetic resonance imaging.  While prizes are sometimes denied by humankind, I am quite sure God has sufficient reward for Damadian’s gift to mankind that has saved countless thousands and thousands of lives.

I recommend this book to those who have inquiring minds and do not mind wading through technical terms.  As I suppose all scientists are given to detail, he is no exception. There is no denying that Dr. Damadian gives credit to God for leading him to this marvelous discovery.

I found the book for a mere $1.99 on a Kindle version of the book.  It can be found in hard cover for those who insist on paper and ink. As in most nonfiction, this book will enlighten and even inspire, but it seldom entertains. It is reading to learn.

 

 

Milking Time

I grew up on a small dairy farm.  I should be well over one hundred years old for the memories I have as a child.  We didn’t have electricity until I was 9 ½ years old and no indoor plumbing until after I went to college.  We did have indoor running water, and a water heater, but not an indoor bathroom.  See.  I should be 100 or more years old!

The first small appliance my parents bought was a toaster.  It was a pop-up toaster so we didn’t have burned toast very often.  We never had “store bought” bread so we had to learn how to slice the bread just the right width or it would not work in the toaster!  That aside, when we had electricity put in the house, Daddy also had a line run to the barn.  The first major appliance my parents purchased was a refrigerator and the second—an electric milking machine for the barn.

I loved that machine.  It also reduced my work load in the barn.  I didn’t have any brothers, so, yes, I worked barn chores just like the other boys in my neighborhood.  My job was to milk my own assigned cow.  Now with this wonderful four “hands” milking machine all I had to do was go behind the machine and strip out what the machine left behind. The stripping gave us a gallon or more milk each milking even after giving some of it to the barn cats.  Every drop counts when milk selling is your livelihood.

This morning I found myself doing that in my morning Bible reading.  After the repetitious reading of Numbers 7, I found a gem.  It was like stripping out the last of what the cow had to offer.  Verse 89, the last verse in the chapter tells that after all twelve family representatives of the Hebrews offered similar offerings on the now dedicated altar in the Tabernacle, Moses went into the special room set aside for the mercy seat, and “. . .heard the voice of one speaking to him from the Mercy Seat. . .”  When we linger where God speaks to us, we will hear God’s voice giving us direction and encouragement.

Strip out the gems from God’s Word.  Don’t rush.  Linger.  Let it soak in. It is often those last squirts of milk that add up over time.

Mind Doodling

In truth, the biggest section of this blog site is just that: mind doodling.  As an only child, I have had many conversations with myself and have all my life.  There have been times when friends have told me, “Karyl, you think too much!”

The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown recently inducted Chipper Jones into their prestigious domain.  It is an honor few achieve.  Jones is my all-time favorite baseball player, yes, even after Bobby Richardson.  Richardson never made it into the Hall of Fame, but like Jones, played his entire career with one team.  Loyalty speaks loudly to me.  Richardson was a Christian who took a decidedly strong stand for Jesus among players who lived the worldly life.  I am happy to support that achievement above athletic skill although he had that as an outstanding second baseman.  Jones has the skill and the ability to keep a team upbeat as well. Jones retired after the 2012 season and was inducted to the HOF on the first ballot with a whopping 97%.  He is well-liked and respected. If you a long-time reader, you know I truly enjoy baseball.

One more “doodle” today is about dandelions.  There is no transition to move from athleticism to weeds!  A Facebook friend posted a picture of a dandelion bloom she spotted yesterday on a trail.  It reminded me that my friend, Margaret, pointed out that a weed is simply a plant out of place.  If we could contain them in a neat row or flower bed, they would be appreciated.  The rabble rousers who stir up division in our country are just dandelions.  Their protests often become full of riot that calls for police control.  Instead of anger at those protestors, I feel sorry for them.  They are lost souls in need of Christ.  Pray for them and if you live in an area where they abound, do all you can to win those souls to Christ.  Knowing the Lord will help them put their energy into something more productive.

There may be a time when I start a separate blog site called, “The Daily Doodle” but I don’t take the time to write everyday except what I scratch out in my personal journal.

Getting to NO: How to Break a Stubborn Habit (book review)

This book, Getting to No:  How to Break a Stubborn Habit, has very few new copies available at my favorite source, Amazon.com.  There are several used copies available and although my book is on my e-reader, it is no longer available in the Kindle store.  I guess I have a collectible!  It was first published in 2007 by David C. Cook.  It is authored by the former, long-time pastor of Moody Church, Erwin Lutzer. It has 172 pages and includes a leader’s guide for study or book discussion groups.

January is the month famous for resolutions so don’t be surprised that I chose this title as the first one to read in 2018.  In the past I have managed to change ways through new resolve so once again, I am aiming to break a very stubborn habit that has plagued me since my mid-thirties.

The book is very helpful and easy to read.  Lutzer does not fail to write again as in other books, in a very conversational way.  This book outline lends to smooth reading and digestion.  The twelve chapters fall into a logical order from chapter one on the source of temptation right on through to chapter 12 which helps the addicted person who feels trapped even though they thought they were through with the battle at last.

In my opinion, chapter five was the most helpful and probably has more highlights and notes than any other chapter.  It is titled, “The Freedom of Living at the Cross.”  It explains so carefully the source of our problems and the remedy.  Whether one is addicted to something easily identifiable or something less obnoxious (like your cell phone, social media, or syrupy romance reading) we need to understand that if we can get to the place where we can say, “I love Jesus more than________” we will not achieve getting to the “NO” place and Satan comes out victorious.

My only complaint is the frequent use of the version of the Bible called the Message.  Since I am a KJV user, the Message, in my opinion, messes with original intent a bit too much.  It did not stop me from reading on to completion. Lutzer also uses the NKJV, and the KJV also.

My advice is to scrounge used bookstores for this book or bite the bullet and pay the 3.99 shipping for a 99-cent book on Amazon; this book will prove helpful whether is it you with the addictive behavior or you are counseling someone who is doing battle with drugs or other harmful addictions.  Get it.  Read it.  Keep it.