Saturday, January 09, 2010

Is It Tattling?

Last Sunday in Bible class, we were starting the story of Joseph (in Genesis). Pastor pointed out that it was not "tattling" when Joseph reported to his father that the brothers were being irresponsible in their shepherding. Joseph goes to the authorities as he ought to do, rather than trying to deal with it himself and usurp his father's authority.

Story proceeds. Joseph is sold into slavery. Joseph is put in charge of Potiphar's estate. Potiphar's wife tries to seduce Joseph. Potiphar's wife makes a fake claim that Joseph raped her. Joseph does not report what happened; he covers her sin.

I was sitting next to Grace and Kyle. Grace asked why the two incidents were different. Why was it not okay for Joseph to "go to the authorities" about the false charges? Pastor explained, but I didn't understand. Neither did Grace. So after class, she asked again.

Part of Pastor's answer was that Joseph's brothers were within the Church, and Potiphar's wife was not. Those within the Church need to be called to repentance when they sin; they need to be restored. Those outside the Church have nothing to be called back to; perhaps she needed to be won by grace and mercy.

Another aspect of the answer was "What was to be gained by going to the authorities?" When Joseph told his father about his brothers' irresponsibility, it was in hopes of bringing them to repentance (and not just for sloughing off, but for their unbelief and impenitence). When Joseph told his dad, it certainly was not a self-serving action; it just got him in more trouble with the brothers and sold into slavery. What if Joseph had told Potiphar what really happened that day? It would not have been to rescue Potiphar's wife, but "telling" would have been entirely self-serving as Joseph tried to save his own hide. Joseph kept on looking like Jesus as he/He continued to act in ways that benefited the neighbor even when it was detrimental to him/Himself.

Why Is "Old" Younger Now?

It seems that people aren't as old as they used to be. Most of that is due, I'm sure, to the fact that I'm older, and 70 isn't as far away now as it was when I was 10 (when 40 seemed positively ancient). But when you look at movies or old photos, it looks like people really are "holding their youth" more than they used to. Even those who don't get face-lifts and work out at the gym.

The doctor called yesterday. My x-rays came back showing nothing that could be causing the foot pain I've been experiencing. So off to the podiatrist with me. Our family doctor suspects neuroma (a swelling and inflammation of nerves) which can be treated with anti-inflammatories, injections, or even surgery.

But the thing is, it can be corrected. What used to happen when people started limping from pain? There wasn't a surgery to fix it. We didn't have knee replacement surgeries. We didn't have dialysis machines. We didn't have meds for diabetes and depression. People with heart problems had to take it easy; there were no bypass operations. We didn't have chiropractors to straighten an aching back. If you couldn't hear or couldn't see, you ended up being slowly shut off from communication; but hearing aids, reading glasses, and cataract surgery can remedy that.

Y'know, when you begin to think about what modern medicine has done to eliminate (or reduce) pain and slowness and inability, you begin to wonder just how much "older" we would all be without those procedures and glasses and hearing aids and drugs and surgeries we take for granted.

Maybe that's why they always used to show us the stereotype of an elderly person sitting on the porch in a rocking chair. I can see where that would be all I could handle if I couldn't see well, hear well, knit, walk easily, or bend to pick up something.

Today's Laugh

Snowman robbery:

Friday, January 08, 2010

A New Twist on Paul

This week's Learn-by-Heart verse is Romans 7:18. Maggie uses the verse as her penmanship practice. She had a few issues early in the week with how to spell perform and how the parentheses worked. But overall she did fine. And then today, she inserted a spare word:

I know that in me (that is, in my flesh)
nothing good dwells;
for to will nothing is present with me,
but how to perform what is good I do not find.

So much for the New Man. Looks like the Old Adam wins hands down.


I can carry a 10-pound bag of flour across the kitchen. Alia (my 1-yr-old granddaughter) can't.

My big strappin' son Andrew could give me a piggy-back ride across the living room. I cannot give him a piggy-back ride 2 miles to the grocery store.

There are some things it is impossible for us to do.

But then there's that fuzzy middle. Sometimes I can physically do something, or I can make time for it, but there will be repercussions. Maybe there are things I used to have the physical strength to do--no problem. I'm not to the point that the task is impossible for me. But if I tackle it, there will be pain or exhaustion that really interferes with life the next day.

So then, can I do it, if that's the case? If I can mow the lawn, but that takes all my energy and all my time, so that there's no time for cooking supper or running errands, doesn't that mean I can't?

I just don't know what to think. And it comes up in so many areas. Finances. Time management. Things that are emotionally draining. Exercise. Yard work. And more.

I think maybe the hard part about this is the prioritizing. Young folks can always work "a little faster and a little better." But there comes a point when increased efficiency just ain't possible. And then you have to admit that important stuff is going to be neglected. And that's not happy.

I guess it's all part of accepting aging. I wish they hadn't taught us so thoroughly in school that you can be Whatever You Want To Be, if only you work hard enough toward your goal.

Today's Laugh

If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Climate Cycles

Some say that this frigid weather is proof of global warming. Others say this frigid weather is just part of climate patterns that fluctuate over the course of decades and centuries.


I used to buy that. I don't anymore.

This is what God has to say about our belief in global warming. He is mocking our idolatry. This is a weather version of "Not even God could sink the Titanic."

Today's Laugh

A young man saw an elderly couple sitting down to lunch at Burger King.

He noticed that they ordered one meal, and an extra drink cup. As he watched, the gentleman carefully divided the hamburger in half, then counted out the fries. One for him, one for her, until each had half of them.

Then he poured half of the soft drink into the extra cup, and set it in front of his wife. The old man began to eat, and his wife sat watching, with her hands folded in her lap.

The young man decided to ask if they would allow him to purchase another meal for them so that they didn't have to split theirs.

The old gentleman said, "Oh, no. We've been married 50 years, and everything has always been and will always be shared, 50/50."

The young man then asked the wife if she was going to eat, and she replied, "Not yet. It's his turn using the teeth."

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Every year, Grandpa would make cut-out sugar cookies and springerle for Christmas. He would make huge batches and then mail a sizable box of cookies to each kid's family. When he and Grandma downsized and moved into the retirement village, the springerle roller came to us. It is in Rachel's possession. We didn't make springerle last Christmas. Paul was missing the treat/tradition and decided he'd tackle the project.

We borrowed a recipe from Barb (which was more complete than the recipe Rachel has from Grandpa). Barb also warned us not to cook them too done. They were delicious!

Paul had intended to mail some cookies to Grandpa. Oops. They were so good. And it was a single recipe instead of a double- or triple-batch. And suddenly... uh... suddenly there weren't any cookies to be sent to grandparents. Hmm. Maybe we can make a bigger batch next year and remedy that.

Of gifts and of unbelief

So now and then maybe I worry a little about money. Maybe.

So we received several nice-sized checks around Thanksgiving and Christmas, gifts from family and some anonymous gifts. Alongside the gratefulness for the gift itself and especially the gratefulness that there are people who love us so much as to give us the gift, I also felt kinda guilty for not trusting God to provide for us. So I spend the next few weeks living in faith and joy.

And then Gary comes home with a report about something that happened at work (something that probably would not affect him anyway) and I'm back to worrying about extreme things like losing the house and dying of starvation. Good grief. How stupid is that?

Today's Laugh

A little boy returned from Sunday School with a new perspective on the Christmas story. He had learned all about the Wise Men from the East who brought gifts to the Baby Jesus. He was so excited he just had to tell his parents: "I learned in Sunday School today all about the very first Christmas! There wasn't a Santa Claus way back then, so these three skinny guys on camels had to deliver all the toys! And Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with his nose so bright wasn't there yet, so they had to have this big spotlight in the sky to find their way around."

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Trinitarian Promise to Abraham

God's promise to send a Savior through Abraham was not recorded just once.

First time.
Genesis 12.
God makes the promise, and then we hear about the trip to Egypt when Abram passed off Sarai as his sister, and Abimelech gave him all sorts of riches.

He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.

Second time.
Genesis 15.
God makes the promise, and then "cuts the covenant," that is, animals are killed, blood is shed, and the Lord is there with His promise.

Not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death.

Third time.
Genesis 17.
God makes the promise and tells Abraham to be circumcised, he and all his household. Circumcision is the Old Testament sacrament that corresponds to Baptism, whereby believers are brought into God's people.

He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth.

Isn't that cool?

Today's Laugh

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Need New Glasses

Remember the cartoons or the sit-coms where they would show some ditzy old lady looking for her glasses? She would be fruitlessly searching through the house with the glasses perched on top of her head. I always thought that was so dumb. It wasn't funny. Nothing like that could ever happen in real life.

And then last week I spent half an hour searching for my glasses, only to find them on top of my head. Do you suppose I ought to buy a pair that I can actually read through, rather than having to constantly remove them and wear them like a headband?

Today's Laugh

Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

Sunday, January 03, 2010


As a rule, a man's a fool:
When it's hot, he wants it cool;
When it's cool, he wants it hot;
He's always wanting what is not.

I gave haircuts today. I trimmed Alia's bangs. Gary was quite overdue for a buzz-cut. Andrew was forced into a trim; we can see his eyes now. Maggie decided she wanted shorter hair. I did the Curly Girl trim, one little lock at a time.

See these perfectly round, beautiful curls on the floor?Aren't they gorgeous? There are women who get perms and spend hours with their curlers to get curls that aren't anywhere near this beautiful.

And yet, those who have curls like this wish for a hair straightener.

"As a rule, a girl's a fool...."

Today's Laugh

A reporter was interviewing a 104-year-old woman. "And what do you think is
the best thing about being 104?" the reporter asked.

She simply replied, "No peer pressure."