November 27, 2003

Turkey Day!

I am at my relative's house, eatin' turkey...

What are you doing?

November 26, 2003

fallen

The soldier slumped to one knee. He was wounded and he was tired. But he was not just tired from the day's battle, which was far from over, but from the war itself. It seemed that his whole life he had been about this war. Don't misunderstand, it was a war that he knew needed to be fought, there was no doubt about that, but this war had enveloped his whole life. And he was tired of it, soul-tired.

There was a lull in the battle, the main excursion had moved to other parts of the field, which had given the soldier a moment to contemplate. But he knew it was worthless to contemplate for long. The enemy would be back, they were strong and fierce, and without fear.

He attempted to rise, using his sword as a cane. He knew that he needed to get back on his feet because the ground was beginning to tremble from the onrush of the barbarian horde. Once he was standing, he straightened his back, and popped his neck a couple of times. There was the smell of death in the air. For the first time in this war he wasn't so sure that he was going to survive.

The first of the barbarians came over the hilltop. It was still some distance away, so he took this last moment to briefly examine his wounds. He wasn't sure why he was doing this, he knew there was no possibility of leaving the front lines and heading for the physician's tents. There were a few nicks and cuts along his arms and legs. He knew those would heal, he had the scars to prove it. There was one long slash across his chest. That one happened when he let his guard down to assist a fallen sword-brother. If it had been just a little bit deeper, he knew that he wouldn't be examining it now.

The enemy let loose an onslaught of arrows. Without thinking, he kneeled down and raised his large shield over his head as they rained down. He had been in battle enough that every movement was performed with near perfect precision, without hesitation. He heard the arrows falling like large hailstones, all around him, and a couple on top of his shield. He heard a scream from one young soldier, where an arrow had undoubtedly found its mark.

As the last of the arrows fell, the soldier rose again. He prepared his mind and his soul to rush, once again, into near certain death. He heard a 'woosh' from behind him as the bows of his own archers released their deadly missiles. As soon as the arrows had passed, he took that first step to rush headlong into the enemy. His men instinctively followed. As one force they flowed down the hill like an avalanche to meet their foes, maybe for the last time. He could see the details of their faces now, rushing at a maddening pace towards him. Many of them fell because of the accuracy of his archers. And when the forces met, there was a sound like thunder and the sound of metal on metal filled the air.

He adjusted his course slightly so that he was headed straight toward their chief. He had already slew two of the enemy, but he knew that he needed to make it to the chief. He had seen an enemy scatter because of the loss of their leader enough times to know that this was their greatest hope. He fought his way to the chieftain, working his arms with precision, like a reaper, mowing his way through a field. It was exhilarating! He set himself to the task with a slight smile on his face. He hacked and hewed his way closer and closer. He approached so quickly that he even thought that the chieftain was making his way towards him!

The soldier met him on the top of a small hill, and there they fought. No other soldier or barbarian dared to step too close to this battle within the battle. With everything going on around them, they fought. Both grinning at the other, they fought. But the soldier was stronger. He had a power that the other lacked.

The soldier stood over the fallen foe. He was preparing to finish him off, when he was suddenly knocked off balance. He whirled around to face this attacker, but there was none there, only a sharp pain from where he had been hit. He turned back and attempted to raise his sword, but was unable to lift it high.

The soldier knew it then. He had been struck with an arrow. One deadly marker had found its spot, neatly between his shoulder blades... He had been shot in the back. One zealous archer had continued to release the deadly projectiles, felling both friend and foe alike. The soldier brought down his sword, swiftly finishing his job, his purpose.

He slumped down again, fallen in battle.

November 23, 2003

Hasn't this happend before?

It is interesting how it seems the same things are happening to me all of the time.

For example, I was really looking forward to going to the stewardship banquet this year. We have been talking about stewardship all this month, in our classes and in the services, and it has gotten me to thinking about the whole concept of stewarship. I also heard that the speaker was supposed to be really good. But probably the most important thing is that I had been looking forward to sending the kids to the nursery for a few hours, and going to this thing with my lovely wife.

But sure enough, about one week ago Josiah gets a cold, which develops into a worse cold, which evenntually turns into something called "croup." No problem, that should only last a few days, and even if he still has it, no croupy cough is going to keep us from going out! Then comes Sunday morning. Samuel, who never feels sick enough to not want to go to church, tells us he is not feeling well. (And if you have been around us long enough, you will know that if our boys are feeling like they are sick to their stomach, it is not going to be pretty.) I end up heading off to church by myself. While in our ABF (Adult Bible Fellowship) I start to feel a little weak and shaky. It progresses all of the way home, until I am at home feeling a little weak and shaky. Then about 15 minutes after I get home, I find myself holding a big orange bowl while Sam is puking his guts out. (not pleasant, especially when you are feeling weak and shaky) Now, I am not going to go into detail right now about the great dramas that our sick kids have put us through, but I will tell you that in the midst of that moment, I suddenly had this feeling of "I've been here before."

To make a long story short, we ended up missing the banquet, because of our sick kids. (I know that's happened before!) But all I can say is, "Oh well!"

I will have to admit at times like these doing right doesn't seem like it has a great pay-off. Sometimes it seems that being a family man and doing the right thing, just leads to days like these. And in many ways that is true. And I've had many "days like these." Doing right isn't all cinnabons and rose gardens! Doing right is holding puke bowls. It's changing diapers. It's playing old games. It's rubbing a back or forehead. It's administering medicine. It's working long and sleeping short. It's caring for sick people and pretending you feel fine, even when you don't. It's smiling when you're sad, giving when you need, and being strong when you're weak. Doing right is hard, but there's nothing like it in all the world.

Everyone knows there are some eternal rewards for doing right, but it is easy to forget that there are also some temporal rewards, too. There is no better way to have a good night's rest, one of peace. Because when you aren't doing right, there is no peace! There is also no greater joy, when right has been chosen in your life, and has been followed through. God knew when he made us that in order for us to have any form of happiness, it had to be through the avenue of right!

This was meant to be a blog on how it seems that my kids get sick everytime that there is a big event that I want to go to. Instead it has made me remember even as I was typing it, that the banquet was no great loss in the long run. Instead, I received another chance to love my family. Though not at the stewardship banquet, I still was challenged on the topic of stewardship. I hope that I was a good and faithful steward today.

Personality Abnormalities #2

Mr. Know-It-All

You know what I am talking about. Have you ever met someone who is always right. Even when they are wrong, they are right in their own mind. They go into every situation having already ruled out every other opinion, because it isn't theirs. And how could anybody else possibley know enough to have any valuable input on the situation.

They have input on everything because they have been there and done that! There is nothing out of the scope of their knowledge, or so you would think, if you were to listen to them. Pick a topic, they have a comment, and to them it is the absolute most important comment you are going to hear for a very long time.

When you talk to Mr. Know-It-All, he never really listens to you. If you watch his face closely, you will find that the entire time that others are talking, Mr. Know-It-All is formulating his next statement. Ususally it is a way to prove you wrong, even if you aren't currently disagreeing about anything.

Most of the time Mr. Know-It-All is in his own little world. He has to stay there because that is really the only place where he actually knows anything, and where anybody will actually listen to him. You see, in the real world, Mr. Know-It-All doesn't actually know all that much. In fact he is usually wrong most of the time.

The sad thing is that if there is a Mr. Know-It-All that is reading this blog right now, they are probably nodding their head in agreement, and have come up with something to comment about already. In fact, it is probably the most important comment about a "Mr. Know-It-All's" that I have failed mention. Well, Mr. Know-It-All, let me have it, what did I leave out?

November 22, 2003

Blogging... Nah!

I don't know about you, but I am getting ready to eat a piece of pumpkin pie and watch a movie with my wife. I don't have time to blog. sorry.

November 21, 2003

GODLINESS + CONTENTMENT = GREAT GAIN

"Godliness deals with who I am; contentment deals with what I have. Godliness is being unsatisfied with my character formation in God, and contentment is being satisfied with what I possess in God. Together they add up to great gain.

-- James MacDonald

November 19, 2003

Paradoxical Passages #2

This is the first passage in the Bible that I really read. I mean REALLY! I had looked in the Bible lots of times. But I had never really read it. Note the verse that says "even the demons also believe and tremble." That word believe is the same word that you find in John 3:16.

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? ... faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.

You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend.

You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

- James 2:14-26


This passage had me stumped for a long time. To the best of my understanding, this is telling us that it is possible to have a fake faith. And the only way to tell is whether or not you are doing something about this faith. Real faith produces a changed life.

November 11, 2003

Dad

One of my biggest regrets is not going into the military. It never fails, every time there is a Veteran's Day Chapel, or Memorial Day... 4th of July... etc. Anything patriotic stirs up feelings of regret.

One possible reason that I regret not joining the military could be that I truly respect those who have fought in the military. I honor their decision to join when they were able to. And many of them are truly respectable people. Maybe it is because of their service that they are respectable, or maybe it is usually the respectable people that join up. It is quite possibly a little bit of both.

Another possibility is that I have a deep desire to be pleasing to my dad. My dad was (and always will be) a marine. He is a Vietnam War Veteran, and proud of it. And I have to say that I am too. I still consider joining the reserves. I just recently found out that they will still accept you up to the age of 35. If I could work it into my summer schedule, I would do it. Growing up, (even though there were many times that I was frustrated and mad at my dad) I can say that I have never been ashamed of him. In many ways I still want to be like him. And I think that I partly regret not going into the military, because I still want him to be proud of me (not that he isn't proud of me) but all of the hardship would be worth the reward of the praise of the father.

Whatever the case, I regret not being a part of it all. I do think that it flows over into my desire to gain the praise of my heavenly father. To one day stand before him and hear him say, "well done! You've fought the good fight!"

I still have 4 years to decide. Maybe one of these summers I will find myself in some boot camp, making my dad proud! But until then I am going to try my best to make him (and my heavenly father) proud of me.

November 10, 2003

Urban Legend!

It has been long thought that Yellow Dye #5 has certain side-effects... But according to the Mountain Dew's Q&A page, that is simply not true! ...so drink on! Do the Dew! Slurp that Mountain Dew down.

consider others

"If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." -- Phil. 2:1-5

November 6, 2003

good?

Thanks to following the blog of the cynical tyrant, I found a link that would rate how good or evil my site is...

Well, here are the results--


hmmm... Does this mean that my site is 38% evil?

November 4, 2003

Paradoxical Passages #1

I am going to start another series. I will try not to have them on the same day again. I have just felt like bloggin today. My mind is reeling. This series is something that has been in my head for a long time. There are several verses in the Bible that I am not quite sure what they mean, but they are both convictingf and frightening. Many of these verses seem to contradict other places in the Bible. But God's word is inspired, so there is no contradiction. Some might say that we need to seek to find the answer to these supposed contradictions. I would disagree. Here is a quote from John MacArthur that goes right along with what I would say,

Because we cannot stand the tension of mystery, paradox, or antinomy, we are inclined to adjust what the Bible teaches so that it will fit our own systems of order and consistency. But that presumptuous approach is unfaithful to God's Word and leads to confused doctrine and weakened living. It should be noted that other essential scriptural doctrines are also apparently paradoxical to our limited capacity. It is antinomous that Scripture itself is the work of human authors, yet the very words of God; that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man; that salvation is forever, yet saints must remain obedient and persevere to the end; that the Christian’s life is lived in total commitment and discipline of self, yet is all of Christ. Such inscrutable truths are en encouragement that the mind of God infinitely surpasses the mind of man and are a great proof of the divine authorship of Scripture. Humans writing a Bible on their own would have attempted to resolve such problems.

Well, with all of that said, I am going to give you my first passage:

Paradoxical Passages #1

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. -- Heb. 10:26 - 31

A convicting passage; one that urges me to stay on my toes. I don't know if I could explain all of the ins and outs of this passage theologically, but I don't want to be the man who keeps on deliberately sinning.

Personality Abnormalities #1

I have decided to start a new series of personality types that could drive a sane person crazy. I can think of three or four right off of the top of my head. But I will force myself to save them for later. Today I will give you the first type.

Personality Abnormalities #1
The "That's nothin'!" guy -- This personality is the type that feels that they need to give some input on everything. If they are in the room, you know it. They are probably putting down someone's story, with one of their own. They ususally start each and every sentence with the phrase, "That's nothin'!" Another name for this personality type is: A "one-upper"

I chose this one first, because I have mentioned these types all of the time in my classes. My intention is not to dislike the people that have these traits. I find if amusing to talk about these types, but it would be wrong to dislike the person. Anybody that we encounter we should show them the Love of Christ, no matter what type of personality they have.

Fate

Quote: "As punishment for my contempt for Authority, Fate has made me an authority myself." - Albert Einstein

Examples: Some things that I have encountered recently in my job, which all relate to the above quote.

A couple of weeks ago I gave a student Demerits for doing donuts in the parking lot... hmmm...

Last Friday a student showed me a comic strip that he had drawn that included charicatures of me... hmmm...

Today I didn't collect an assignment that was due at the beginning of class. About half way through the class I asked if anyone was currently working on the assignment. Sure enough, there was a student who fessed up... hmmm...

There truly is nothing new under the sun.

November 3, 2003

The Minnesota Crime Commission wrote:

Every baby starts life as a little savage. He is completely selfish and self-centered. He wants what he wants when he wants it: his bottle, his mother's attention, his playmate's toys, his uncle's watch, or whatever. Deny him these and he seethes with rage and aggressiveness which would be murderous were he not so helpless. He's dirty, he has no morals, no knowledge, no developed skills. This means that all children, not just certain children but all children, are born delinquent. If permitted to continue in their self-centered world of infancy, given free reign to their impulsive actions to satisfy each want, every child would grow up a criminal, a thief, a killer, a rapist.