Archive for » January, 2008 «

January 31st, 2008 | Author:

In a recent article about the upcoming economic stimulus package that Washington declares will save us, Sheldon Richman says this:

As long as the president and the presidential aspirants adopt a somber yet hopeful and determined tone, pepper their speeches with big-sounding numbers and reassuring words, and promise to hand out money, most voters will be satisfied … They just want someone to make them feel safe, and there will be no shortage of such someones.

What a sad, but true, commentary. Many Americans now turn to politicians for their security, for their inspiration, for their knowledge. We want the government to solve our every problem. Libertarian skeptic that I am, though, I think the state usually makes things worse, rather than better, so I am proposing a revolutionary alternative:

It is better to take refuge in the LORD
Than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
Than to trust in princes.
Psalms 118:8-9

Okay, it’s not really revolutionary – it’s just unusual in 2008 America.

Category: Christianity, libertarian  | Comments off
January 30th, 2008 | Author:
I know it’s only January, but I’m tired of winter. So I’ve been looking through some of our photos of summer, and thought I’d share a couple … in case anybody else is in the same boat.

I Will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From whence shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

Psalms 121:1-2

O LORD, our Lord,
How majestic is Thy name in all the earth,
Who hast displayed Thy splendor above the heavens!

Psalms 8:1

Category: Adirondacks  | Comments off
January 28th, 2008 | Author:

Laila, the dog, has been vacationing at our house quite a bit lately, while her owner, Stacey, has been traveling hither and yon. This presents no problem, as Laila and Sugar are about the same size, and neither one is especially territorial. See? A couple years ago, I grabbed a new toy for Sugar, which quickly became her favorite: the squeaky ball.
The problem arose when Laila arrived and decided that the squeaky ball was her favorite, too.
So when my hubbie and I went grocery shopping, I spied another squeaky ball, just like the other squeaky ball, and we got it for Laila to take home as a vacation souvenir. Laila really liked it. Stacey said she carried it everywhere, so when Laila came back for another vacation, she brought her squeaky ball with her.

Then the next problem arose. Sugar also liked the new squeaky ball – much better than the old squeaky ball. Here’s how it would go: Sugar would drop the new squeaky ball by me or my husband. Before we could throw it, Laila would swoop in and steal it. Sugar would bark. Then Laila would bring it back, and give it to one of us to throw. Sugar would sneak in and steal it. Laila would bark. All of this was repeated numerous times, in between all the times we went digging it out from under the couch, or various other places it rolled. We made many attempts to get one or the other dog to play with the old squeaky ball. These were mostly unsuccessful.

So … I hope you appreciate this video as much as I do. It took several practice runs. (Aren’t they too cute?)

Category: dog  | 3 Comments
January 28th, 2008 | Author:

It’s hard to be a Redsox fan right now. No blockbuster trades are happening, and it’s still 17 days 9 hours 1 minutes 7 seconds until pitchers and catchers report for spring training … but who’s counting? So I have a confession to make: my husband and I have been watching some of the football playoffs. No, I’m not a real football fan. I usually root for the underdog, but Foxboro is pretty close to Boston, and the Giants are in Yankee territory – so I’ll probably pick New England for the superbowl.

I don’t really know how football is played. Oh, I understand the scoring basics, but it still looks like mayhem to me when they snap the ball. When the heads start talking on TV about that great block or that reverse screen play … I drift off and wonder if Big Papi will get back into the home run groove this year. I am surrounded by football, and I’m still clueless. This led me to wonder what it would be like for someone who had never heard of the game – so meet Bob. He’s my imaginary foreign exchange student from some isolated culture that has no football and no TV.

Bob arrived in upstate New York in August. His exchange family took him to register for school, and he saw the football team practicing. They asked him if he’d like to play, and he gladly agreed – an enthusiastic fellow, our Bob, who wanted to experience all that this new life had to offer. So the next day he showed up for practice. He got a hearty welcome, they suited him up with some pads and a helmet, and started their warmups. Bob kept up pretty well, because he was in good shape. So far, so good. He might like this thing called football.

Then they divided into teams to run some plays, and they put Bob in as a defensive lineman. They snapped the ball, and Bob got knocked on his butt … over … and over … and over again. See, Bob dove into the game, but he didn’t know the rules, he didn’t know his teammates or his opponents or the coach, and he was clueless about the play book. He got bruised, his ears were ringing, and he didn’t understand why all these seemingly nice guys were being so mean to him.

Does this sound like life? Does it sound like your life? (Yes, indeed, it’s time for “the sermon.” It’s my blog, and I can do this.) So here’s what Bob needed to know to play football well:

  1. the coach
  2. the objective, the rules, and the playbook
  3. his teammates’ strengths and weaknesses
  4. his opponents’ tactics

Here’s what we need to know to play the game of life well:

  1. our triune God
  2. the Bible
  3. fellow Christians
  4. the ways of Satan

I didn’t learn any of this until I was 39 years old – that’s 39 years of bruises and ringing ears and mental anguish. When you don’t know the objective of the game, you can’t play it well. When you don’t know the rules or the plays, you’re going to screw things up. Unless you’re familiar with your teammates, you’re not going to be able to coordinate the plays. And you need to have some idea of what the other team is up to.

This analogy isn’t perfect, of course. A real coach is going to make mistakes, while the Holy Spirit never will. And the playbook changes from team to team, while the Bible doesn’t. Trite or not, I think it’s worth relating anyhow, so here goes:

akaGaGa’s Rules for Life

  1. Get to know The Coach. Get to know God’s many attributes, His character, His love, His justice. Meet Jesus as your Savior and your Lord, preferrably on your knees. Then learn to listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit. He’s indispensable when you’re trying to play the game.
  2. Study the Bible as if your life depended on it: it does. This is the best way to learn about God and Jesus. The more familiar you are with how they operate, the easier it will be for you to anticipate what their next move might be.
  3. Spend time with other born-again Christians. Each member of Christ’s body has different strengths and weaknesses. When you can’t see well, it’s nice to know someone with good eyes. If you don’t run well, get to know the marathoner in the back row. And just maybe, your ability to speak in public will serve a purpose, too.
  4. Keep an eye on the other side. Satan’s tactics work best when he’s dressed up like an angel at church, and mixing in just enough truth that immature Christians can be deceived. Always keep watch, especially for the weaker members.

And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

1 Corinthians 9:25

Category: Christianity, Redsox  | Comments off
January 26th, 2008 | Author:

When I was born again, not only did I receive forgiveness and the Holy Spirit, God provided me with a pair of wide-angle singlasses. The whole world looked a lot different when I wore them. Everything I encountered was colored black or white, sin or not sin. I was 39 years old when this happened, so I had a lot of habits that looked black. I learned early on that the only course of action that gave me any peace went like this:

  1. see sin
  2. confess sin
  3. stop sin
  4. if that doesn’t work, repeat as necessary

I got good at repetition. But this plan only applied to my sin. I discovered that these glasses also highlighted the sin that was around me. It didn’t matter if it was a song on the radio, a book I was reading, a TV show, or a comment from a friend. The singlasses screamed “SIN!” So I changed the radio station, shut off the TV, or tossed the book.

It was a little trickier when it was a friend. They didn’t seem to appreciate my new-found knowledge, provided by my ever-present singlasses and my four-step plan. In fact, most of them got ticked off. So I had to develop a new course of action for other people’s sin. It goes something like this:

  1. see sin
  2. bite tongue
  3. pray that God will give them their own singlasses

There are exceptions to this, of course. At one extreme, there are times when we really do need to speak up: a friend wants your input, or a child is being beaten. At the other end of the spectrum, there are times when we just need to walk away: “come out of her, my people” and all that. Deciding which of these courses to follow, of course, is the tough part. That’s where step four comes in:

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

Category: Christianity  | Comments off