Saturday, March 10, 2007

A Real Friend

I stole this from an email that Anna sent a few months ago, and it makes me thankful for some of the friendships my kids have. (And that I have too.) And it makes me look all the more forward to our trip to see some friends this weekend. When we skipped our annual trek to Fort Wayne in January, we told the kids that we'd get them together with their buddies at another time. Well, today is the time, although it won't be for a long enough period, and one group of buddies is unable to join us. But it's better than nothing.

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A simple friend, when visiting, acts like a guest. A real friend opens your refrigerator and helps himself (and doesn't feel even the least bit weird shutting your 'beer/Pepsi drawer' with her foot!)

A simple friend has never seen you cry. A real friend has shoulders soggy from your tears.

A simple friend doesn't know your parents' first names. A real friend has their phone numbers in his address book.

A simple friend brings a bottle of wine to your party. A real friend comes early to help you cook and stays late to help you clean.

A simple friend hates it when you call after they've gone to bed. A real friend asks you why you took so long to call.

A simple friend seeks to talk with you about your problems. A real friend seeks to help you with your problems.

A simple friend wonders about your romantic history. A real friend could blackmail you with it.

A simple friend thinks the friendship is over when you have an argument. A real friend calls you after you had a fight.

A simple friend expects you to always be there for them. A real friend expects to always be there for you!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Romans 1:20

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that [the ungodly] are without excuse."

Clearly seen?

At Bible class on Thursday, we spent the whole time (more than an hour) on half of a verse from John ("that which is born of the Spirit is spirit). We got into quite a discussion of spirit, soul, body, and flesh. One of the passages Pastor took us to was this section in Romans 1. But then I got distracted. How can something that is "clearly seen" be "invisible"?

Something to ponder....

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Psalm 139

I always thought the first six verses of Psalm 139 were about God's omniscience, and the next six verses were about His omnipresence. But what if that's not really what it's about?

After all, if He has searched me and known me, if He knows all my ways and the words on my tongue, He knows that I am a sinner. Verse 2 even says He knows my thought "afar off." Well, maybe that means from far away He knows what I'm thinking. Omniscience. Or maybe it means that even though I am afar off (like the prodigal son) He still chooses to know and love me. Mercy.

What about the next section? I always thought it meant that God was everywhere. But, c'mon, "where can I flee from Your presence?" Like, maybe, I want to flee (like that prodigal son)? Like, maybe, I try to flee (like Jonah)? Even if I want the darkness to hide me, He brings light. There's no getting away because He tracks me down, wooing me back, like Hosea going after Gomer. As Pastor Eggert wrote (LSB 558): "O faithful love, that shepherded through faithless years! Forgiving love, that led us to Your truth! Unyielding love, that would not let us turn from You but sent us forth to speak pardon and peace."

And then in verse 17, I always thought that was a declaration that God's thoughts are precious to me. But maybe it's saying that what is precious are His thoughts to me, His thoughts toward me. It makes a difference whether the prepositional phrase is adjectival or adverbial.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting."
Maybe that's a pat on the back for myself, a request for God to check me out and see what a good little Christian I've been, anticipating that His search will expose no "wicked way in me." Or maybe, on the other hand, it is a claim for Him to be faithful to His promises to those who have impure hearts and lives. If we examine ourselves, we find nothing in us but sin and death, from which we can in no wise set ourselves free. Therefore our Lord Jesus Christ has had mercy on us and has taken upon Himself our nature so that He might fulfill for us the whole will and Law of God and for us and for our deliverance suffer death and all that we by our sins have deserved. In other words, He will lead me in the way everlasting, eeeeven though He tested me and found me lacking.

I used to think that this psalm was for the pious and the outwardly holy, and thus it made me chafe a bit. But now I'm wondering if it might be for sinners too.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


We were going to be having turkey-vegetable soup, scalloped corn, and baked squash for dinner today. I had Andrew grinding up heels into bread crumbs. The soup was simmering. I figured the ever-popular scalloped corn would be the penance I was performing for making my mistreated husband eat soup for the second time so far this week. But when we hauled the egg-box out of the fridge there was one egg. ONE egg? In this house? One egg? (Who's the guilty party who snacked on eggs recently? Hmmmm?) So I called both neighbors who sell eggs, so as to determine whether to head north or south to fetch some. Neither one has eggs. Those chickens are still on strike. In fact, one told me that she's had people stop by who've never stopped by before. Apparently, everybody's chickens are on strike because of the weather. She also told me that she tried to buy more laying pullets, but the place where she gets them has been inundated with requests, and they won't have any available until fall. Whoa! No wonder the price of eggs at the grocery store has more than doubled in the last year or so.

So we had potatoes instead of scalloped corn. Yukon Gold potatoes -- mmmm. But even that wasn't enough to assuage the second time for soup this week. I told the kids to put out the Cheez-Its for crackers instead of the boring old saltines. That sure perks up a soup, but it's still soup. Why, oh why, can't these people crave soup the way Katie and Rachel and I do?

Monday, March 05, 2007

My Twin

I've been stressed out recently. My nice young cook has been helping a great deal with the cooking, as well as trying to be diligent about his schoolwork. He has also taken it upon himself to find helpful chores to do around the house -- cleaning the closet in the entryway, and cleaning the refrigerator including washing all the shelves in it. Wow!

During the late-morning schoolwork today, I started realizing my neck was hurting. The recent stress sure hasn't helped matters any, but I think I've figured out that this is mostly connected to cold air on my neck. The pain got worse and worse, to the point that it was getting hard to take a full breath of air. Gary told me to make an appt with the D.O., and it so happened that the doctor had an opening early this evening. Rachel graciously consented to drive me to the doctor. Matt graciously consented to get his own self over to Bible class tonight, and we met him there. Rachel dropped me off at the doctor's and buzzed over to the grocery store to buy herself a treat. When she got back to the clinic, she walked in and was met by the receptionist. "May I help you?.... Oh. Wait. I bet you're here to wait for your mom." My goodness, I knew we looked a lot alike, but I didn't even realize the receptionist would've recognized me, much less that she'd know my daughter was mine!

We really need to tune in to some of those mother-daughter look-alike contests before the deadlines. We could earn some prizes.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


It was four years ago that my friend Steve was getting ready for his bone marrow transplant. It reminds me of a story he told from his hospitalization for his second go-round with lymphoma.

About 4 in the morning one day, Steve's nurse was taking vital signs and checking IV and stuff. This was a male nurse, rather large, and not exactly the handsomest fellow around. (Pr Wiest said he could identify -- LOL!) This nurse had already been caring for Stephen for 3 nights at that point. Since Pr Wiest had woken up and because things were fairly quiet around the hospital, the nurse ventured to ask permission to speak with him for a bit.

"Steve, I notice from your chart that you drink." Pr Wiest said, "Of course I do. A couple good beers or some excellent scotch -- ah! it's a great thing."

The nurse mentioned, "I also notice from your chart that you smoke." Pr Wiest said, "Ooooh, yeah, there's nothing like a good fat stogie after dinner with your friends! Especially with some scotch."

Next the man commented, "Steve, I also have noticed in working with you the last several days that sometimes you lose your temper and might let loose with some cussing." Stephen answered, "Well, yeah, sometimes things just come out of your mouth...."

And then the nurse said, "Steve, I was raised Methodist. The other thing I noticed on your chart is that you're a pastor. A Lutheran pastor. And yet you drink and you smoke and sometimes you cuss. How do you reconcile that?"

What an opening! Pr Wiest told him about the fact that he was a sinner who drank and smoked and cussed, but that his Savior had taken his sin upon Him, died for it, and forgiven it, giving him His righteousness for his very own. He told the nurse that Christ died for all. He told the nurse that Christianity isn't about being good; it isn't about morality; it isn't about doing the right things. Rather, Christianity is about mercy for those who don't deserve it.

Pr Wiest knew I would be amused by his opportunity to witness. I had crabbed at him so often about how some people say our upstanding lives will motivate people to ask us about why we're different. But he was asked about Christianity because he wasn't doing the upstanding moral thing expected from a pastor.