Saturday, September 07, 2013

Today's Laugh

Trying to understand the behavior of some people 
is like trying to smell the color 9.

stolen from Pam's Facebook

On the Straight and Narrow

Do you know the right way to behave?  Do you "walk the walk"?  

After all, Jesus said (Matthew 7:13), "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."

And, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open for us,' and He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know you'" (Luke 13:24-25).

That's got to be a frightening proposition for some people.  

But is it about poor behavior?  Is it about making sure you know the right rules and trying diligently to follow them? 

Or are these passages about how many gazillion ways we can concoct of not putting Jesus first?  Of course that would include wild living and selfish indulgence.  But even good, holy behavior and "pure living" can become the thing that displaces a Savior who rescues sinners.

The narrow gate?
Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture" (John 10:9).

Friday, September 06, 2013

Scoring the Soap

Due to a refrigerator malfunction, I've been on a soap-making binge here the last week.  The frozen tallow (which usually lives in the fridge's freezer) was taking up space in the deep-freeze.  In a bid to make more freezer space, I determined to make enough soap to rid the freezer of tallow.  (The lard gets to stay frozen for the sake of tortilla-making.  Thank you, Glenda!)

First lesson: do not score the soap too soon.   Soap recipes usually instruct you to let the soap sit for 12-24 hours before scoring/cutting.  No!  I did that once.  Scoring the soap was an atrocious job that time: the soap had hardened too much by the time I tried to cut it.  So I fell to the opposite extreme -- scoring the soap as soon as it would hold a shape (maybe after 60-90 minutes in the soap-mold).  I learned this week that the soap is much smoother and prettier when I wait 3-5 hours before scoring. 

So far I've done three regular 3# batches (27-30 big honkin' bars) and one small batch of olive-oil soap.  Two batches to go, and I'll have all the old tallow used up.  That should be enough soap to last me and Maggie four years!

Besides my standard lard/tallow, I've made soap out of Crisco before, but never anything else.  Due to the aforementioned refrigerator malfunction and its drips, my tiny little deep-fryer had water mixed in with the fat.  Dangerous!  So I washed the fat several times.  Then I found an awesome chart for how much lye and water to use when you're making soap out of oddball fats.  In a few months we'll be able to try a bar of olive-oil soap and see what we think. 

Thursday, September 05, 2013

With All Your Heart, With All Your Soul, and With All Your Strength

Last week's Bible verse was about loving God with all your heart, soul, and strength (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).  This week's Bible verse is a continuation (verses 6-7)
These words which I command you today
shall be in your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your children,
and shall talk of them when you sit in your house,
when you walk by the way,
when you lie down,
and when you rise up.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart."
"These words shall be in your heart."

"Love the Lord your God with all your strength."
"Teach them diligently."

"Love the Lord your God with all your soul"
(which is sometimes translated "life").
And the verse talks about how all our being and doing (at home and away, morning and night) is when we are to speak God's words.

Y'know, a person might almost be tempted to conclude that loving God has something to do with being filled up with His words, clinging to His words, bubbling over with His words.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Caulking the Cracks

The tiny cracks in the siding should be sealed.  We don't want bugs or dampness to get in. 

And yet, in my recent wasp debacle, one of the prime rules I discovered is to NEVER seal a hole or crack in the house where bugs come and go.  After all, you may seal them in, and then you'll have a worse mess.

But ...

But if you don't seal the crack, then the insects will keep sneaking in. 

So the point is that cracks ought never to develop -- because there is no right way to deal with it?  Who comes up with this advice?

Reading Challenge: Update

Instructions were found on Jane's site to set up a reading challenge of a mere 5-10 books, something that seemed daunting as of last Christmas. Everything on my primary list (plus some extras where the book was the initial one in a series) has been read.  I've also read two books from the alternate list and some others.  I can now declare, without reservation, that I have met the goal. 

What's funny is that Gary mentioned a few days ago that he's so happy to see me being able to read again.  I wasn't sure what I thought of that: the weeks where I made great headway on my reading list was when I was too sick (or too crippled from wasp stings) to do much but lie on the couch, reading.  So the stories and/or learning are great.  The reason I'm lazing with a book -- not so great.  But maybe I'm learning something about not knocking myself out?

My primary list:
Anne of Green Gables   by L. M. Montgomery  Jan 24
Anne of Avonlea   (these two with Maggie) Feb 24
Christ Have Mercy   by Matt Harrison April 7
Mara, Daughter of the Nile   June 7

Love Divine   by Alan Kornacki July 30
A Great and Mighty Wonder July 31
One Thing's Needful Aug 5

Mitford's These High, Green Hills Aug 16
Out to Canaan    by Jan Karon Aug 27
A Common Life Sept 2

The list that someone else made for me:
Lutheran Catechesis   by Bender Dec 27, 2012
Old Testament Catechesis   by Bender March 1
New Testament Catechesis    by Bender
Bible Stories for Daily Prayer    by Fabrizius

Kristin Lavransdatter  by Sigrid Undset
To Kill a Mockingbird   by  Harper Lee May 8
Luther, the Reformer   by James Kittelson
The Right to Be Wrong   by Seamus Hasson
On Being a Theologian of the Cross   by Forde
Luther on Vocation   by Wingren July 15

Books not on the original list:
A Long Way from Chicago by R Peck audio book April 16
A Year Down Yonder by Peck audio book April 18
And She Was a Christian: Why Do Believers Commit
by Peter Preus May 7
Heaven Is for Real June 27

Monday, September 02, 2013

Psalm 119:176

I have gone astray like a lost sheep;
seek Your servant, 
for I do not forget Your commandments.
 "I do not forget Your commandments."  Worth a pat on the back for me?  "Oh yeah, man, I am such a good Christian and do such a fabulous job of obeying God's commands."

Then why, pray tell, do we need to be sought after?

How can someone go astray, be in need of rescue, and still say, "I do not forget Your commandments"? 

We're always so quick to make it all be about me ME me and my obedience.  But that just doesn't jive here.  If I am lost, I can't very well makes claims on God because of my obedience to His commands.

"I do not forget Your commandments" maybe, just maybe, means more about His promise to be faithful to us even when we're off gallivanting in selfishness.  Maybe "I do not forget Your commandments" is a bold prayer that He will hunt me up when in sinful blindness I am erring hour by hour.