Saturday, July 26, 2008

Romans 8:18

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Pastor made the point last week that these sufferings are not primarily things like car accidents, lost jobs, illness, and broken relationships. It of course includes those things. But in the context of Paul's letter (with chapter 8 following on the heels of chapter 7!) the sufferings spoken of here are primarily the suffering with the sin of our flesh waging war against faith, bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. THAT suffering --a suffering more grievous than any suffering imposed from the outside-- is the suffering which still isn't worth comparing to the glory which shall be revealed in us at the Last Day.

"100" -- Trees in Yard

Because my children are making me obey the rules about identifying species "within a mile of your home," they won't let me count this one. It's in the backyard of our old home. We planted it quite a few years ago. Last week I stopped and nabbed some MULBERRIES when I was in the neighborhood doing some errands. I'm sure Katie is jealous.

I can't tell the difference between the members of the rose family until they fruit. The peach trees, plums, apples, crab apples, apricots, cherries, and pears all look alike to me. (Hey, is there a parable about that: the way to tell what the thing is would be to look at its fruit??) Anyway, this one with the dark leaves is #20 on my list, a PLUM TREE.

21. BIRCH TREES always make me think of Wisconsin. I loved it, back when I was little, when we got far enough north on Highway 51 on our way to the northwoods, and there were birch trees everywhere!

22. The guys picked CHERRIES one day, but I never got around to finishing off the picking and doing something with the fruit. I feel so wasteful! Perfectly decent cherries and I let the critters have them instead of eating them ourselves. I intend to do better next year.

23. There is one LILAC by the garage and another by Maggie's bedroom window.

24. This CRAB APPLE TREE flowers so prettily and is placed near the corner for everyone to enjoy in May as they come into our little section of dead-end streets.

Walnut Cravings

I used to tolerate walnuts in the cookies or brownies. Sometimes I thought Mom would put nuts in the treats to slow their consumption by certain children. Even up till a year ago, when I had long since learned to like walnuts, I still preferred pecans and almonds. But I usually bought walnuts for the recipes where I needed nuts, simply because the walnuts were more economical.

For the last several months I've been having walnut cravings. I usually don't let myself get started because I just can't stop. When I make granola, I want to snitch as many for my mouth as I put into the whole recipe. Now when I put pecans in the granola, it's not the special treat it used to be ... because I WANT walnuts.

Then I went to the store to refill the walnut supply. Oh no! What happened? The walnuts are significantly more expensive than the pecans and almonds now. Oh dear. This is sad.

I suppose planting a walnut tree will not be a very speedy solution, eh?

Friday, July 25, 2008

1 John 3:6

Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.... He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning.... Whoever is born of God does not sin.

Surely I'm not the only one who's heard the speech. "You are no Christian. You sin. You should work harder to get your life in order. You should quit sinning. If only you could be as sanctified as I am. I really don't think you're a Christian. You should commit your life to God, and make Him lord of your life."

Pastor pointed out in Bible class this week that the verse in chapter 3 cannot mean what these pharisees claim it means. After all, look back at chapter 1: If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

The Sunday epistles recently (in 3-yr series) have been from Romans. Recently we heard, To will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. The good that I will to do, that I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. If anybody at church hadn't already memorized that section, I suspect they must have memorized it by now, after hearing it expounded upon so often in the sermons of recent weeks.

Interestingly, besides the third chapter of his first epistle, there is another place where John talks about children of the devil as differentiated from the children of God. It's near the end of John 8, the gospel for Judica. Jesus tells the pharisees, "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do."

The desires of your father you want to do.

The children of the devil want to do his bidding. The Christian doesn't want to but nevertheless continues to fall into sin (a la Romans 7). There's something comforting there....


Information from Paul's college's cafeteria arrived recently. It touts the healthy food choices available, but the word "healthy" seemed to be used nearly interchangeably with "low fat." I don't agree with that. I think "healthy" and "minimally refined" are more synonymous than "healthy" and "low fat, low calorie."

So I asked the food-service director. He tells me they have whole grain breads. But is that what I call "whole grain"? Or is it the kind of bread that has a little whole grains, just enough for them to legally label it whole-grain bread? I asked about brown rice, and I was told they have it available. But is it real brown rice, or brown Minute Rice? I asked about peanut butter, and was not surprised to find that it's the standard kind, made with hydrogenated fats and high-fructose corn syrup. But when I asked about butter, I was surprised that they don't even have any of that. EEEEEEKS!

Philip, Katie, and Nathan -- none of them did well with cafeteria food. Paul cares more about eating right than any of them did when they headed off on their own. When Gary and I would face 4 days of cafeteria food (oh, say, at FtW sem for symposium, prior to the era when Jane and/or Katie would feed us part of the time while there), a person can get to feeling pretty cruddy in that short amount of time. It's going to take some careful choosing on Paul's part to get enough unrefined foods into him to feel fit.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's Not Fair

Last Sunday's epistle (3-year series) was from Romans 8.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.

Rosie Cotton, Andrew's kitty, has been sick. She started sneezing on Friday morning, after being uncharacteristically lazy on Thursday. By church on Sunday morning, I was honestly surprised that she was still alive -- sick eyes, lots of sneezing, barely moving, not having eaten nor drunk for over 48 hours. One sad sad kitty. (By the way, after forcing some water into her, and sneaking some lysine into her, and giving her some time, she began slowly to improve on Tuesday. Today she is beginning to be herself again. Whew!)

Remember in grade school, when the class was being naughty? If you were a disgusting goody-two-shoes like I was, it made you mad when the teacher canceled recess or some other fun activity as a punishment for the whole class. "I wasn't throwing erasers. I wasn't being noisy. I wasn't copying off the neighbor's paper. I am a good shepherdess girl." [Sorry. The shepherdess comment was irresistible, and will make sense only to 10th Kingdom groupees.] Anyhow,... we don't like getting punished for transgressions committed by somebody else. It's not fair, after all.

Of course, Jesus was punished for transgressions committed by somebodies else. But we dismiss that altogether too easily. Ah, He's God. Ah, He wanted to. Ah, we take the atonement and the blessed exchange for granted.

But the rocks. The clouds. The rabbit that was nabbed by coyotes in the backyard last Wednesday night. The irises and daisies and the cherry tree. And poor little Rosie. They have been subjected to futility. They suffer with a world gone wrong. There are earthquakes and tornadoes. There is illness. There is death, some of it predatory and painful. It wasn't their fault. It was mine. And yours. The kitten did not sin. The sky did not sin. The dirt did not sin. But it suffers. And it waits for the Last Day when all things will be made new.

That is not fair.

Still, the rocks and the kitties and the snails and the moss take it. They wait. They suffer. Why? For our sake. God cursed the creation so that man would realize his need for a Savior. God cursed the creation so that we would know that things are not right. God cursed the creation to bring us to repentance.

So when I am tempted to say, "But I didn't vote for Clinton or Perot," or when I am tempted to say that I didn't want a particular synodical bureaucrat to win an election, or when I am tempted to say that I don't want to be bound by laws that restrict my freedoms that I can handle responsibly (but my neighbors have shown that maybe they cannot),

in other words, when I am thinking, "I don't deserve this punishment; it's meant for them"

maybe I need to be reminded of the rocks and Rosie and their sufferings for my sake. It wasn't fair that the Christians in 586 BC had to endure the siege of Jerusalem and suffer through the Babylonian exile; after all, it was the Baal worshipers that brought God's wrath on the nation. And it isn't fair that responsible American citizens must put up with government that is seen by some as a punishment, a punishment consequence brought down on our country because of folks with a welfare mentality that thinks somebody else owes them something. And it isn't fair that faithful pastors are fired.

But so what if it's not fair?
The wildflowers suffer for my sake. Rosie suffers for my sake. The oceans and mountains suffer for my sake. They are placed in a fallen world though they did nothing to deserve it.

(Assuming we can claim innocence.... quite the assumption!) can we do the same for our fellow citizens, or our fellow brothers in this synod, or our fellow family-members? Love for the neighbor and a longing for his heart to be turned in repentance to faith in the true God -- that kind of love makes it easy to bear the unfairness. (God give us that kind of love, because we sure ain't got it, in and of ourselves!)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Baseball Movie

My husband tells me The Final Season was panned by the critics. Apparently, the critics don't approve of a movie that thinks small-town America is preferable to the Big City. Apparently, the critics don't approve of a movie that exalts discipline and CHORES for straying children. Apparently, the movie critics agree with the educrats that consolidation of high schools is a good thing, rather than keeping the local schools operating. Apparently, the critics don't appreciate the message that, in baseball, as in so many other endeavors, the fundamentals are ... well ... fundamental.

Sean Astin stars in this movie, and for me, that's reason enough to watch it. But the whole setting of the small-town baseball team excelling even when some are trying to squash 'em ... it's definitely an uplifting and fun movie! One of those movies where I find myself cheering, clapping, and wooo-hooo-ing along with the people in the bleachers in the movie.

This movie made me think of Hebron and their basketball water-tower. Except in this Iowa story about baseball, the place was a dynasty for two decades. And it was about the size of Sadorus.

Mom, Gary says Dad would like this one. It's got more language than you'd like, but not too bad. And other than that, it is outstanding!

Church Signs

Pr Esget got something posted on "Crummy Church Signs." If you're not a reader of his blog, you may not have seen his link there. You gotta go look! It's hilarious!! (Second one on the page, submitted by "Christopher E.")

Psalm 37:28

For the Lord loves justice,
and does not forsake His saints.

The response of my works-righteous heart: If I practice justice, if I am fair, if I do right, then God will not forsake me. He will like me and stick with me if I am properly "doing justice" for fellow-humans.

A better way to hear this verse: Because the Lord loves justice, and does justice, and already meted out punishment on Jesus for my sin, He cannot punish a second time. That would not be just. Instead, He will justify me, declare me righteous for Jesus' sake. Because He is just and loves the justice He enacts, He will be faithful to His promises, and hang onto His saints forever, never leaving them nor forsaking them. (Even if they are sinners and do not practice justice like they ought.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

More Wedding Pictures

The pictures from Katie and Nathan's wedding are now on the computer. Gary set up the screen saver to rotate through the pictures in the computer. And I can't even begin to express how CHEERFUL it is to have these pictures flitting past all day. I hate turning off the computer screen now! It was such a beautiful day as far as weather, and so relaxed, and I knew everybody there, and it was a fun party. The ultimate no-stress wedding. I love the greenness of the grapes and trees and lawn and ethanol patch cornfield. I love the pictures of the potato cannon. This one had a shutter-speed fast enough to catch the potato. But Bethany or Lynea had a superb picture (on facebook where I only got a glimpse via Rachel) of Katie kneeling to shoot the cannon. I think that one was my very favorite picture from the whole day; it captured the light-heartedness of the whole day, with the bride kneeling on the grass firing a potato cannon into the corn. And notice what's in Gary's hand in the last picture: one of the pastors brought along an advance copy of LSB. (I tell you, that's cruelty to wave a new hymnal under the nose of a hymn addict when she's got loads of friends there to cook for and chat with. LOL.)

Now, I just need to figure out how I get a hold of Rachel's wedding pictures and get them onto the computer too, so these wretched children of mine will quit pestering me about how Katie is my FAVORITE because all the pictures are of her and her wedding. But when I do get them, I think that I'll still have a special spot in my heart for the pictures of Kate's wedding, because they're just such happy pictures with the outdoors and the tent and the balloons and the silliness.

Wedding Pictures

Okay, so their second wedding anniversary is coming up in two weeks. Okay, so I'm not speedy at getting to wedding pictures. Now that I'm starting to figure out this whole digital-photo thing, I'm sure enjoying it!

Wart Removal

Thanks to the loan of a car from a friend, I managed to squeeze in a visit to my parents this week before Dad starts chemo. (Boy, their calendar is so full of doctor visits right now that it makes my head swim!) While there, the tv was on now and then. I noticed several ads for Compound W and other wart-removal schemes.

The real solution? VITAMIN E.

About 10-15 years ago, we were having problems with warts. A friend's family had problems with them too; she told me that they suspected there was a problem with the virus in their soil. We tried several different brands of wart removers. We tried going to the doctor to freeze them off. We tried the plan where you tape banana peel to the wart, putting on fresh banana peel several times a day. (Banana lovers thought this was a good plan. Somebody had to be eating these bananas so we could make medicinal use of the peel.)

Then somebody told us about vitamin E. It worked better than any of the alternatives. Much faster too. And way cheaper.

You just get a vitamin E capsule, poke a hole into it with a pin, and squeeze some of the oil out onto the wart and just a smidge onto the surrounding skin. Ideally you would apply the vitamin E oil 3-4 times per day. But sometimes we'd remember twice on one day, and only once on the next. Overall, though, it took only a week for the wart to simply fall off. No pain. No doctor visit. No stinky medicine. And far less likelihood of having the wart come back there or anywhere else on the body.