Sunday, October 19, 2014

Here a Slave, There a Slave, Everwhere a Slave

Romans 6: You're either a slave of sin or a slave of righteousness.  A slave of uncleanness or a slave of holiness.  A slave of death & sin or a slave of God. 

Slaves of sin are "free in regard to righteousness."  Free, huh?  What kind of freedom is that?

Matthew 11:  Jesus invites us to Him for rest.  "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."  So in a way, there's still a yoke, still a burden.  Just as Paul said: "slaves of God."  But one slavery is easy.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Why Malchus's Ear?

When Peter went hacking away with his sword in the Garden of Gethsemane, he cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest.  Pastor pointed out that this was not just a humongous injury.  This was his EAR. 

Apostles are to preach.  They are to save people through their words.  Hack off the ear and the fellow cannot hear the word of mercy.  What Peter did was violent and hurtful, to be sure.  But even more, Peter interfered with the man's hearing.  When Jesus healed Malchus, it wasn't just fixing an owie.  The miraculous healing gave back to Malchus the organ through which he could hear the preaching which saves. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Trusting in Which God?

Remember that part at the end of Narnia, where the Calormene fellow ends up in heaven confused, saying he worshiped Tash and not Aslan? 

Yeah, that's bothered me, like, forever.

Today I bumped into an article about a Lutheran gal who converted first to Roman Catholicism, which then [she said] made it easy to convert to Islam.  She went on her pilgrimage to Mecca.  It's sad to hear the bondage of the rules which must be done to get your brownie-points for making the pilgrimage, and what you can do to get yourself an exemption to some of the particulars while still racking up your brownie-points.

The woman rightly desires a conviction that "God is all I need or will ever need."  She says that those who have that trust will never be worried or discouraged.  That's quite a lot of pressure to measure up to, emotionally and mentally.  But I suppose it's true.  IF I had perfect faith in Jesus, I would never be worried or discouraged.  But that ain't gonna happen.  That's why He loves and forgives sinners  -- we can't be confident and perfectly full of trustingness.

What comes after "God is all I need"?  Statements like these:
"I realize that this is something I have to work on every day."
And talk about feeling God's presence.
And, "Now that I have experienced this pure connection to God, I want to maintain and grow it. The onus is on me to make the changes necessary to help this happen."

I want to grow this connection with God.
The onus is on me.

What happened to "God is all I need"?

I've heard Christians say, "God is all I need," but then focus on their following, their works, their praying, their feelings, their efforts to grow?  Which God are they worshiping?  How is it different from the Muslim god?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Gary worked on the garage floor, cleaning it, filling in the rotting cement so that it just begins to smooth out a bit, and painting the floor.  A few more years of diligent upkeep and we might remedy the pitiful state the floor was in when we bought the house.  It looks SO much better already.

Can't seem to get the house cleaned.  Garden isn't put to bed either.

Maggie and I keep plugging away at some schoolwork.  I haven't gotten her to a second volunteer-job yet, though, which was high on the priority-list for this school year.

I was ill last week.  Now that I'm off the antibiotics, I suspect the problem may be returning.  I'm trying to do everything I can to fight it.  But I suspect my immune system is more compromised than I thought.  It may be a long, vitamin-C-filled, achy, garlicky, lazy winter.  It's so hard to know when you should plow stolidly ahead and when you should cry "uncle" and just stop and rest. 

Everybody thinks I've recovered better than I have.  I hate saying "no," especially when I want to assist with the projects that need to be done.   I guess I'm faking Adequacy well enough that people expect me to be back to normal.

Three new babies this week for friends.  And an engagement.  And a friend released from the hospital.  So much happy news out there!

Now that sunset is earlier, the huge glass windows at work have become mirror-like at the end of the day.  I didn't realize until yesterday how much I'd been avoiding looking in mirrors.  So many people have complimented my short haircut.  I've been told that it's chic, trendy, cute, becoming, and a bevy of other nice adjectives.  Nevertheless, I still don't like it.  But that's been okay because I seldom see myself.  Now at work, I can't avoid facing up to my super-short haircut. 

I started watching the series "Doc Martin."  LUVving it!   Thanks to Lora for recommending it!

Right now I'm reading a biography of a guy who suffered a brain injury and became a synesthete.  For some reason, the book is beginning to creep me out.  I can't figure out why, but it really bothers me that he insists there is no such thing as a circle; he sees everything as angles, squares, triangles.  He pretty much sees everything as pixelated.  And I believe there are circles.  It seems theological to me, and I can't pin down why.  I'm glad Maggie and I are still enjoying the joy of Anne books, and that I'm still not done with the Mitford books.  Katie suggested that I'm spoiled by the lovely books and don't have patience with most of what's available these days.  She's right.

One of those serendipitous homeschooling things:  Maggie and I have a few different things going for school right now that hit on worldviews and how macro-evolution has affected so much in academia.  We keep bumping into the same thing from different perspectives.  That probably adds to my impatience with waste-o-time books and movies.  There's so much in the world that is good and beautiful -- let's enjoy them instead of [ahem] facing reality. 

the ostrich

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Being Glorified

Such a tight link between justification and glorification!

Romans 8:  Whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Notice that "glorified" is a past tense verb?  It's not just a "some-day" thing; it's a done deal.  It's happened.  And it happened because we were declared righteousness (aka, "justified").

And what does Simeon sing?  "My eyes have seen Thy salvation ... the glory of Thy people Israel."  Our glorification is that we have been saved from our sin.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Wisconsin Homeschoolers

Your PI-1206 report is due on Wednesday (October 15).  Fill out the report ONLINE.  Do NOT follow the advice of a certain out-of-state homeschool organization which tells you to use a paper form of their own making.  Do it online.  The online form does NOT request any information that is different from what is required by law, the information we used to report in the olden days of filling out the paperwork by snail-mail. 

Failing to file properly (that is, online) includes the possibility of trouble for yourself.  But that's small potatoes.  More likely, when people insist on filing a non-government paper-form instead of the online form, we're setting ourselves up for legal hassles as a group.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Reading Lesson

The older kids would play or color or build-with-Legos while I read aloud to them.

The older kids would read books to themselves on their own.

The doctors told us Maggie would never read for fun, for enjoyment.  They told us that kids with VCFS learn rudimentary reading skills, but their comprehension is abysmal.  Well, phooey on that.  Maggie continued to increase in her reading ability.  Then, a couple of years ago, she accidentally discovered something that helped even more.

If someone reads aloud ... and the listener has her own copy of the book -- two things happen.
a) The listener's reading skill increases.  ("Oh, that's how you pronounce that word!"  Also, a better understanding of how words are grouped into phrases.  And much more.) 
b) The listener's comprehension of what is heard-with-the-ears increases because of what is seen-with-the-eyes.

Now we're to the point that Maggie always wants to search out of second copy of Anne or whatever-we're-reading. Hooray for a big library system!

Monday, October 06, 2014

He Remembers That We Are Dust

Step on an ant or a beetle.  Crunch!
Swat a mosquito, and get blood on your hand.
Swat a fly with force, because it requires some smashing.

But swat a moth?
You barely have to touch it.
It doesn't leave a blood stain on the wall.
It practically turns to dust.

That always amazes me.  Moths are so dry.  There's nothing to them.  They are so easy to do away with.  And they're like powder.  Like dust.

"He knows our frame.  
He remembers that we are dust" (Ps 103).

The Lord remembers that we are dust.

But we don't. We think we've got substance.  We think we've got strength.  We think we've got lasting-power.  We think it takes somethin' big to knock us out.

But we are dust.
And the Lord is gentle with us dry dusties.

"As a father pities his children, 
so the Lord pities those who fear Him." 

Sunday, October 05, 2014

He Remembered the Word of the Lord

Jesus said Peter would deny Him.  Peter said, "No way.  Ain't gonna happen.  I'll stick by You, even if it means prison or dying."  That's when Jesus told Peter, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times" (Luke 22:34)

Hours later, when Peter had --sure enough-- denied Jesus three times, the rooster crowed.  And then Peter remembered the word of the Lord (verse 61)

I always thought that verse meant Peter remembered the prediction of his failing.
And only that.

Pastor pointed out in class this week that there was more to the conversation: look back at verse 32.  Jesus had also said, "I have prayed for you."  That's no small thing, no impotent thing, that Jesus prayed for Peter.

Jesus had also said, "When you have returned to Me."  In other words, Peter would indeed be restored.  He would be forgiven.  He would be brought to repentance and placed back  in the office of apostle.  "When you have returned to Me."

When Peter "remembered the word of the Lord," there was also a word of faithfulness from Jesus mixed in with the statement of Peter's unfaithfulness.  It is God who gives faith, works faith, and sustains faith.   "The God of peace Himself will sanctify you wholly and keep your spirit, soul, and body sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He who called you is faithful, and He will do it."

Saturday, October 04, 2014


A movie about dying of cancer. A professor who is alone, no family, no friends. She agrees to aggressive treatment, for the sake of research, with only a small hope for recovery. An exacting professor who teaches John Donne's poetry. A woman who has little to hang onto other than "Death, Be Not Proud" and her own toughness.

A woman who eventually must face the prospect of her own death. A woman whose only comfort is the gospel (if you can call it that) found in The Runaway Bunny.

So very different from Stephen's death.  A man surrounded by family, friends, and pastors.  A room filled with hymns, prayers, more hymns, liturgy, psalms, and a few more hymns.  An image on the wall of Jesus dying on the cross to bear the wages of Steve's sins.  A statue of St Michael defeating the dragon-of-old.

Unlike the tough professor in Wit, Pastor Wiest knew long before that he was weak.  But His Jesus is strong.  As he became weaker at the end, he was given more and more and more of Jesus' word of forgiveness and mercy.  "For when I am weak, then am I strong."