Thursday, March 29, 2007

Costume Discovery

Our family made a discovery this afternoon we thought might be useful to someone. Rather than, at this point, sending our idea to a family magazine, I'm just posting it here. Perhaps you will smile.

If you ever need a furry costume, take an old garment, spray it with something sticky (maybe hairspray?), and drag it on the carpet behind doors or under beds. The collection of lint might stick for a while to a non-treated garment, but for long-term, I recommend an adhesive.

We also wanted to offer, if you need extra lint, to send you some. *smiles*

To God be all glory.

How and Why to Get Married

The title of my post may promise a lot. I was trying to summarize the several recent articles I've read that seemed to be connected. While I've found points in these various articles to be interesting and encouraging, I have to disclaim and say that some of these articles contain items with which I don't necessarily agree. However, I would love for you my readers to study them, contemplate, and comment with your thoughts.

First I have a review of a book by Debbie Maken about getting serious about getting married. The 24-year-old single author of the review says that the book deepened and even changed her perspective on the self-centered delay-marriage generation in which we live. Read the rest here.

Carolyn at Solo Femininity has been doing a series on relationships, one of which highlights a book she was reading, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Paul Tripp and Tim Lane. The focus is that though being in relationships promises suffering, there are other sides, and they are worth the pain. (This reminds me of the last line of one of my favorite movies, Shadowlands: "Twice in that life I've been given the choice: as a boy and as a man. The boy chose safety, the man chooses suffering. The pain now is part of the happiness then. That's the deal.")

From Homeliving Helper, Mrs. Alexandra, come thoughts on the right-ness of girls wanting to find a husband and some tips on how to (at least) not scare the men away.

Lanier is beginning a series on YLCF about preparing for marriage. Her first rule is believe that your God is good, and that a beautiful, godly marriage can happen. Stay tuned to YLCF for future articles in the series.

This last article is one about which I posted already, but since it also applies, I'm linking it again (this time straight to the source). Carmon praises the fact that her daughter for being unashamed of her choice to study homemaking and marriage.

As a final note, these articles focus on women preparing for marriage. One of the main frustrations I've discovered is that getting married is a two-way street. Preparing for marriage goes both ways. And I won't be the first young woman to bemoan the shortage of sober-minded Christian men.

To God be all glory.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Unashamed Biblical Womanhood

Crystal at Biblical Womanhood has an article (mostly quoting Carmon, another blogger) on the potential of a young, intelligent lady preparing for marriage and motherhood after high school instead of going to college.

I like the points.

Beyond that, doesn't Gracie just sound like a sweet young lady you'd love to have as a friend?

To God be all glory.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Vote by Conscience

I think I've written about this topic before. This is in a different light, however. To understand what I mean, go to the link, read, and come back.

Hugh Hewitt, who is on during evening drive time in my city as a radio talk show host, claims to be a Christian. He supports Youth for Christ and discourages the ACLU's propaganda that tries to keep any mention of God out of the public.

He also says Mormons will be in heaven. So maybe his opinion, that Mitt Romney is perfectly acceptable as a candidate for president, can be understood. In fact, Mr. Hewitt wrote an entire book on the subject, entitled A Mormon in the White House?

On his radio show, I have frequently heard Hugh Hewitt describe his argument: To ask former Governor Romney about his religious faith is inappropriate. Then no matter what the religion, the anti-religion crowd will be emboldened to discriminate against people of faith. To consider him inelligible for office because of his religion is bigotry. The offense would be the same as refusing to vote for Senator Obama because he is black.

Or Senator Clinton because she is female. (Side note: suppose I read the Bible and find out God created men to be the leaders, and thus consider Hillary ineligible, in the first case, because of her gender? I think a man is more suited for the office of President and Commander-in-Chief, because God created men and women differently.)

My first rebuttal is that Barack Obama did not decide to be black, nor did Hillary decide to be female. There is nothing untrue about their identities. However, though he may have been born into a Mormon family, Mitt Romney's faith is his choice, and his faith is in lies.

Which leads to my second rebuttal: If I find it disconcerting that a candidate for president has no more discretion and wisdom than to devote his life to the following of heresies, don't I have the right to vote against him for president? If I have learned that before I was saved, I was an enemy of God, isn't it ok to see other unsaved people, whatever their level of spirituality, as my enemies in a sense? If I as a Christian wish to vote for someone who shares my faith in an Almighty God and a passion for following His Word even when it doesn't make sense or isn't popular, haven't I that right?

One thing I would never advise is for a law to be made, or the Constitution to be amended to require a profession of Protestant faith as a prerequisite for candidacy in this country. I do not advocate slandering and tearing a candidate down, deriding him for his religion. Every man who meets the qualifications already described in the Constitution for President may run for the office. Then let the people decide.

However, for someone to call me bigoted for voting according to my own religious conscience for good, intellectual reasons founded on my knowledge of the candidate's religion - that is interfering in my rights, distorting the flow of democracy, and making me mad.

Here is my challenge to you. Examine candidates. Examine them against the Bible. Look at their record, including the way they have treated personal friends and family. Look at how they handle money. These things will affect the way in which they run your government. Then vote by your conscience. Do all that you can to ensure that your representatives and leaders represent you.

To God be all glory.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Oregon High School Teacher Fired

He worked 8 days as a part time teacher in Sisters, Oregon. The board fired him after complaints from parents sparked investigation. He taught things contradicted the expected syllabus of the class, they claimed.

The teacher insists that the controversial supplemental material were designed to teach critical thinking, which is essential for scientific inquiry. With a degree in science from Oregon State, he should know.

What is the crime? Parents reported their students were confused by the supplemental material, that the teacher was polluting their minds, and that his teaching prevented the high school students from learning what they needed to learn.

In truth, he provided supplemental material (he says he wanted to provide "factual" information) that referenced the Bible as its source. The conclusions drawn linked evolution, Nazi Germany, and Planned Parenthood.

I just have to comment that he took on just about every anti-Christian agenda possible: evolution, of course; socialism, abortion, and the highly influential (having lots of money) separation of church and state crowd.

That his information was true and legal is apparently irrelevant. Students in the Oregon public schools apparently need to learn that since we are decended from mere rocks (via all sorts of "lower life forms") we not only can, but must, for our survival, destroy other lives. How else will America be turned into a Marxist regime than by suppressing the truth and those who proclaim it? We need to keep public indoctrination locations pure and focused on their goal, don't we?

What is scariest to me is that so many of the parents quoted are already indoctrinated mouthpieces for the anti-God Marxists. They don't care about truth, justice, or the best interests of their children.

To God be all glory.

Friday, March 23, 2007

One Man

I'm pondering... Does the proverb, "Pride cometh before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall," apply only to individuals, or to groups as well. In America, I wonder if our pride, our insistence on being right, 'my way or the highway,' is leading to our destruction. If nothing can be accomplished in congress except tearing down or corrupting the other branches of government, and our defense is left unfunded, and all of our multitudinous taxes go to inefficient and unnecessary causes, America will be weak indeed. I cannot imagine such a country withstanding destruction.

Is there hope? Does one vote really count? Can one person make a difference? I just rewatched One Night with the King and noticed Mordechai's defense when asked whether he thought his presence in the palace would prevent the king from annihilating the his people if the king so decided. "Probably not," Mordechai admits. And anyone who knows the story anticipates the irony. Doug Phillips offered an interesting perspective at a conference I attended this summer: The world has never been changed by a majority.

To God be all glory.


We had our first thunderstorm here in Colorado today. Complete with rain, the clouds built over the city and eastern plains, shaded dark by contrast with the setting sun. In March, we hardly ever get thunderstorms. Our early spring is delivering just the perks I described in my post, Ready for Summer?

I actually discovered the thunder by listening to my radio, which fuzzes every time the lightning flashes. Looking up out my window I saw dark clouds in the east. Our storm hadn't materialized yet, but the scent of rain was... ahh, refreshingly... in the air.

The problem is that, with our climate, we are almost doomed to have a blizzard freezing buds off the fresh green trees. My guess (following the precepts of Murphy's Law) is that this inevitable event will occur during the national high school Awana competition in downtown Denver the beginning of April. This way all the visitors from California, Texas, and Florida will get education with heavy spring snow and winter driving.

I'll be there, blizzard or no.

To God be all glory.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

How to Take a Pill

In case there are any others who have experienced the trauma of not being able to swallow a pill, I offer this testimony.

Upon reflection, I think I probably "learned" to swallow pills when I was a sophomore or junior. The doctor gave me an antibiotic and didn't even ask if I could swallow them! But there they were, and I had to get them down. My whole life no one had ever taught me what you do to get a pill down your throat without chewing or choking; they'd just laughed that I couldn't (same with whistling). Finally I discovered the "secret," though I'm still bad at large pills or ones that are not slick on the outside.

What I do, and you can try this or not, depending on the reputation (of not being able to swallow pills) you want to maintain, is drink a swallow of water. Then, with the pill ready in your hand or nearby, put another mouthful of water into your mouth (drink from a full size cup, not a bottle or straw or drinking fountain). Before you swallow that , put the pill in and imagine it floating like a boat. Put the cup to your lips and drink another full swallow, not even remembering the pill. Once it is down your throat, add another swallow or two to make sure the pill makes it to your stomach. Never take several pills at once. If you gag, try to be calm and repress the gag, and send more water for backup.

Start small, with little Tylenol, Ibuprofen, or Sudafed (the pill is very small and red). Don't chew. If the pill happens not to make it the first time, dump more water, make sure the pill is positioned near the back of your tongue, and swallow. Work quickly. Linings of pills will dissolve in your mouth if you leave them too long, releasing a horrible taste.

So that's what I learned. My family still makes fun of me because I use a whole cup (ten ounces?) of water to take a dose of medicine, and I choke when I try to take a pill an inch or longer (or it seems like it, anyway). But I have mastered the basic pill.

To God be all glory.

Perfect Jeans

It's confession time. I own the perfect pair of jeans. The search was long, but about one and a half years ago, there they were. Off the Kohl's rack I paid full sale price for a pair of jeans that is the right color. They fit at the natural waist. I don't even need a belt. The jeans are so long that if I'm not wearing shoes - and, ok, sometimes when I am - I can step on them. There are pockets. The legs flare a bit. Made by Lee (instead of Levi, which had always been my idea of the perfect jean company), this is the pair for me.

So yes, I do wear jeans sometimes. I love skirts, and wear them almost all the time. They make a statement. They're fun. They're feminine. But here's my take on the "issue." The Old Testament laws about dress are fulfilled by Christ's death and resurrection. The Bible doesn't specify pants or skirts (most people in history wore very similar robes). So it's a matter of what I feel like, how different from the world I want to be, and what statement I want to make. Today I'm making a statement for following dress code rules at the Awana program where I serve.

To God be all glory.

Ready for Summer?

"Are you ready for summer?" a woman asked me yesterday. When I think of summer I see picnics, games, free time, reading by an open window, and swimming pools. In my most idealistic moments I see C.S. Lewis' descriptions of Narnia in summer, filled with laughter and evening dances in woodland glades. Grapes hang from vines all around. Leaves are large and green. Grass is bright and soft. There are gentle, rainy thunderstorms.

"I love spring," I answered. "I want to see it blossom and bloom before summer comes." Spring. Oh, the memories I have. I have watched spring unfold in Chicago. Driving slowly by the roadside vegetation, you see the tiny buds of flowers and sprouts of young green covering every branch. Here in Colorado in early spring you can witness the fruit trees laden with blossoms. For a short week, the world is a visual paradise. Can I describe the thrill at seeing the first spring flowers, usually the bulb varieties like Iris and Daffodil, showing their singing faces?

Yes, there must be the time of enjoying the bloom before you trample the gifts of yesterday in the reckless joy of a carefree summer.

To God be all glory.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Changing Church Part XVII

Will had liked sleeping with the windows open since he was a boy on the verdant prairie of eastern Kansas known as the “bread basket.” Since being married, he had marked an additional benefit from this habit. Not only did he get refreshing breaths of air blowing across his room at night, and mourning doves cooing him awake in the morning, but also a wife who liked to cuddle when she was cold.

Anne shivered this morning, staring at the grey creeping into the edges of her black sky. Will rose early on Sundays to pray. She dragged an extra quilt over her to compensate for the warmth he took with him. The wind tugged gently at her curtains as if beckoning her.

Outside with an afghan draped over her shoulders, Anne breathed in the air. It was heavy with the promise of a rainy morning. Rain didn’t worry her today. She had other things about which to worry. Her heart opened up in prayer as she walked down the sidewalk.

The church steeple was visible from the street outside her house. Usually the sight of the cross on its top cheered her. Today the associations were too real. “Take up your cross and follow me,” He had said. And she was willing to follow, but it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t pleasant. Sometimes it tore her in two.

By the familiar rhythm of his footsteps, Anne knew Will was behind her. He reached for her shoulders and rubbed his hands down her arms to warm her. She had shuddered away from the sight of the steeple. He stood looking at it as though he were the Constantine of legend, receiving his orders with a vision of a cross in the sky.

“My God is there,” he said. Anne looked up quickly in case a window had been cut in the heavens to reveal the King of glory’s return. For this she had prayed. It would be easier for Jesus to return than for her to face the reaction to her husband’s “sermon” last week. But Will was confident. After realizing he meant something less visible, Anne turned to question him.

He knew to explain before she spoke a word. “Ahead of us. Working there, and in the people who will be there. He always has been. This isn’t our idea, our work, or our responsibility. This is God’s.” A light mist settled on their miniature valley, giving the occasional tingling sensation to their skin. Nevertheless they sat down together on their curb. For a while only the sound of lonely cars, cars they used to like imagining belonged to other pastors going to work, interrupted their silence. For weeks the sound had become more and more ominous, a reminder of the confused, though sincere stand each man was taking.

“Why are we the only ones?” Anne asked.

To God be all glory.

See the index for first and additional chapters.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Amy of Humble Musing fame has a wonderful little post on why a penny saved is more than a penny earned. She points out the value of the woman who, while not "earning" an income, is a very valuable part of the family finances by saving and wisely investing the money her husband (or father!) earns.

Take thought! Take heart! Take pennies!

To God be all glory.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sabbath Year

I'm not sure how well I understand the Sabbath Year (every seventh) described in the Old Testament Law. Does it mean that for a whole year you don't work so much? You eat what you stored? In the weekly Sabbath you rest, your animals and servants rest, and you eat food prepared the day before.

Exodus 23:10-12,
"And six years thou shalt sow thy land,
and shalt gather in the fruits thereof:
But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still;
that the poor of thy people may eat:
and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat.
In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard,
and with thy oliveyard.
Six days thou shalt do thy work,
and on the seventh day thou shalt rest:
that thine ox and thine ass may rest,
and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger,
may be refreshed."

Leviticus 25:3-7,
"Six years thou shalt sow thy field,
and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard,
and gather in the fruit thereof;
But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land,
a sabbath for the LORD:
thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.
That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest
thou shalt not reap,
neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed:
for it is a year of rest unto the land.
And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you;
for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid,
and for thy hired servant,
and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee,
And for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land,
shall all the increase thereof be meat."

Leviticus 25:20-22,
"And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year?
behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase:
Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year,
and it shall bring forth fruit for three years.
And ye shall sow the eighth year,
and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year;
until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store."

Just to spark your imaginations (and perhaps even the elusive comment), I would share an idea I had. In the Old Testament, men worked six-day work weeks. In America today the middle class man works five-day work weeks and takes Saturday to watch sports or do odd jobs around the house: clean the garage, install shelves, fix leaky faucets. Sundays are, to the pious, devoted to church and thoughts of God and family. Oh, and eating. That seems to be big on Sunday. And football, in the fall.

In the Old Testament it would seem that every seventh year a man has only to care for his animals. The poor may glean in the fields what grows without being tended. The middle class man, who has been working very hard for six years and saving his food (or becoming poor so he has to glean) is now resting for an entire year. What would that be like?

I can see some advantages. People would be taught to save on a seven year plan, but not necessarily to hoard their goods for some fabled retirement or splurge of luxury. Families would get a sort of vacation every seventh year. Wouldn't that be neat? To have Dad around for a whole year? And on the six-day work week plan, there is not as much time given to dissipation.

Apply this lifestyle to today's world. You don't go into debt to begin with, so you can start saving money right away. For six years of hard labor by the head of house (while women are preparing meals, saving money, earning money from home, keeping the house, supporting the husband) everyone saves enough, on a plan, that they could eat and keep electricity and water for a seventh year. A man tells his boss he will be quitting, taking a year's vacation, enjoying an extended leave of absence (or if he is self-employed, he shuts down for a year; think: no income tax that year!). Six years is a long time. The year-long vacation wouldn't happen all that often.

After the year off, a man goes back to work refreshed, perhaps more educated if he has used his time wisely, and ready to work hard again for another six years. His family knows him better, and knows how to better care for him as he works. They are refreshed and taught and encouraged to go on working and saving. Everyone talks about their vacation and looks forward to the next one.

So, would it work? Would anyone dare try it? What if God actually knows what He's talking about?

To God be all glory.

Beautiful House

As I was reading through the blogosphere today I encountered an ad, yes, an advertisement on which I had to click. What I found is the website above, supplied with pictures from an expert photographer. The house is for sale, and though I don't have the money to buy such a lovely house, one of you might, so I'm providing free advertising.

The reason that I linked it, though, is because the house is so fantastic. You feel like you might visit one like this if you visited a very important but hospitable family. Go, look at all the pictures. Dream. And, if you can afford it and want to live there, you might even buy!

My little imagination is always collecting aspects of homes to be added into the custom home I will probably never own. Some of the things, happily, would be usable for any house or apartment: what to do with each room, how to organize, how to decorate, installing shelves. One thing I would love to have is a high windowseat (one you could either jump on and kick like a counter, or that you could access by a short ladder) with storage underneath.

For some of my ideas I actually keep a little folder titled "Lisa's Hope Chest." Hey - if you can't embroider, you might as well hope for ideas, right? You might try it. Write out ideas for your home and family. Decorate the outside with pictures that inspire you. Put only the best (and only the handwritten) in your folder.

To God be all glory.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Paid Vacation - Students Pay Schools

Crystal has a post on a proposal made in a California school district to charge parents about $35 a day to withdraw their kids from school for a vacation. Yes. Your kids are not in school, because they're your kids doing things with you, and because the school didn't have to spend any money teaching them that day, the purse-holders won't pay the school for your child that day, so they want to get their fair share of money from you instead.

The article has some interesting comments by Crystal's blog readers. What does a policy like this mean for homeschoolers? Should parents be more responsible and let school district schedules govern their vacations and lives instead of withdrawing students from oh-so abundant class time? Where is the money from the taxes going? Why can't public schools make do with the money they already have? Is public school a welfare program?

I also wanted to link to an article written by Douglas Gresham, the stepson of C.S. Lewis, which I found to make a lot of uncommon sense. This article, which points out some logical flaws in traditional schooling, comes to me from Scott Brown via Matt Chancey.

My thoughts are summarized as follows: there should be no public schools. There should be very few private schools (for orphans or very poor children - as charities run by churches, etc.). Parents have primary responsibility for and control over their children. They are liable for their children's educations. The everyone-pays-taxes-which-are-distributed-to-provide-an-inefficient-education-for-anyone public school system is welfare and socialism. Socialism has been proven to drain itself. Children can be educated for much less money than public schools receive per child every year. Family vacations are good for families. Children should never do homework over vacations. Families are not dictated to by public school schedules. A school has no right to charge parents for not using their services. Teachers in public schools are sometimes very kind, dedicated, talented people. They are there for the service of the students, and cannot complain about the bit of extra work helping a child make up work if necessary that they missed while sick or on vacation.

To God be all glory.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Whom are You Willing to Marry?

I know that many young women would be fascinated by a title like this. Is it a list, guidelines, or admonitions against settling for an unworthy young man?

Actually, when I was writing my post on The Good Life, I had a thought. One advantage, seemingly, to being a self-sufficient farmer is that you get to be around your family, in fact working at your family's side, all day. Your wife makes your lunch and you can come in for meals, even if you spend your day plowing or walking your goat. Then I thought that many women I have met have commented - when their husband was on vacation, retired, got laid off, or was injured - that they drove each other crazy. They love each other, enjoy each other's company during the limited times in the evening and on weekends when he is not at work, but if the situation is full time, there is a break down.

As a single woman with slightly rose-tinted glasses, I can't speculate on why they don't enjoy each other's company for long periods of time. Is that good or bad? I don't even know. Probably God made men to work, and women ought not expect husbands to behave like (or listen to them like) a good female friend. But I had a thought.

How many men or women, when considering marriage, if they asked themselves: "Could I spend nearly every waking hour with this person for the rest of my life?" would say yes? Some couples very smitten with love would dreamily say yes. Some may even be able to seriously say yes. But how many would say, "That's not what I'm signing up for! What are you talking about?" And then if something did happen, or if he did decide to keep a job that had him home, what would they do?

In the interest of being real and personal, I'll tell you that I think I could spend a lot of each week with my husband (when I marry him, whoever he will be) because I intend to marry a man who is very interesting and funny and whom I can adore and tease and consult. In fact, I appreciate the marriage of the couple on the show I mentioned. My only objection is their disdain for children. Kids seem unpopular and conveniently non-existent. As God wills, I also plan to have children who will mix up the company if the entire family is at home.

Let me also tell you, not to disappoint the starry-eyed young ladies who are reading this post because of the title, that I am having a dilema I would like to share: Should I try to marry a man who is outgoing and funny and such a leader - or, should he be a quiet, thoughtful, strong leader? I worry sometimes that all the good-humored young men are silly boys with too much past in the area of relationships; and that the only place I will find a strong, principled, faith-filled conservative is in a rigorous, solemn young man who always asks his father's advice (or his mother's) and wears a tie.

The problem, perhaps, is that I do not often meet the incarnation of the character and principles I would like to find in my husband. So imagine being married to a list. Yet God, amazingly enough, I am convinced, has made human men who love Him, rejoice, and still have an incredible faith and dedication to godliness.

As I shrug my shoulders over all of this, I remember that whoever he is, he's out there, and when I know who he is, I'll find out if he is more one type than another. God is in control, and God is so good.

To God be all glory.

Changing Church Part XVI

Anne excused herself to fly to the door. After kissing her beloved hello, she let him know that Rachael had stopped by – just to visit. Her voice was full of excited awe. It was a miracle, a gift, her eyes seemed to say. At a time like this, to have a friend. “Look, I made a pie. Would you like to have your dessert first? We are!”

“Love to,” he said. A weight lifted off his shoulders at hearing that the visitor had come without questions. For a few hours, he would forget the controversy and have some fun. “Mm.” He took his first bite. “Where’s this recipe from?”

“From whence is this recipe?” she corrected.

“Yes, Anne. From whence. You do know my congregation is going to look at me quite strangely if I use words in the order you wish.”

“They’re already looking at you strangely, dear. The recipe is off the internet. Rachael and I liked it.”

“Did she help you make it?”

“No, but she helped try it!”

“I don’t want to keep you.” Rachael stood. She brought her plate and fork to the sink.

“Don’t go. You’re fine.”

“No, I had a nice chat. You guys need some down time. And I don’t want to keep your dinner.” The water sprayed over her plate. Anne rose from the table with such energy that the paper napkins blew to the floor. Will watched them float down. His wife embraced her new friend, and thanked her earnestly for coming.

“I thought I’d better,” Rachael answered. Anne saw her to the door. “Bye!”

Anne drew the dinner from the oven, where it had been warming. “You know what I think we should do tonight?”


“We should read the Bible,” she said intimately. “We need refreshed. We need promises. We need praise.”

“After dinner?” Will asked.

“You know, I think we’re the weirdest couple ever. We think that reading the Bible is as romantic an activity as anything.”

“Ever since you told me I’m going to be a father…”

“That makes you sound so old!” Anne exclaimed.

“I haven’t wanted to study any of this church stuff. I want to go through the whole Bible and find every verse that talks about parenting.”

“Seven and a half months. Do you think you can make it?”

Will smiled. She took everything in stride. “We might have to divide and conquer.”

“Give me easy ones, like Proverbs, then.”

To God be all glory.

See the index for first and additional chapters.

Good Life

In my life I've made several decisions based on idealism, activism, and faith. This leaves my life a little unique. As I told a friend this summer, as long as I can afford to make stands on principle, I will. The world will never change if people who could make a difference didn't bother because it was only temporary. Besides, one might discover that you can do things - forever - differently than society would teach.

My parents loved an old British comedy called The Good Life or Good Neighbors (depending on the season or the country in which its on television) when they were first married. In fact, when they got a VCR, they taped them off TV. Now they're on DVD (the old VHS now being of less than high quality), and I am watching them courtesy of my local library. The plot is that a couple in suburban England decides to be free (quit the corporate world) and become self-sufficient. They decide to do the sufficiency experiment in their own house and yard, to the surprise and humorous objections of their neighbors. Growing vegetables and raising chickens and goats, making their own butter, and even their own gas for their homemade gas-powered generator have their bumps. However, the spirit - the true flaws pointed out in the Western civilization corporate world - is very inspiring.

There may be other ways to become self-sufficient to lesser degrees than by keeping goats. Some modern families really are doing as much as they can to leave behind the additives, preservatives, secularized work week, and luxuries (like a massive clothing allowance). They learn to live frugally, to do most things for themselves, to work hard. Whether you have a vegetable garden or not, what a challenge to the rest of us!

From myself and my experience I want to admonish you to question your assumptions about what you must do with your life. A practical example is that wives can keep a home instead of working outside it, the income of one can support a family, and it can be a good, fulfilling thing to do. Another area in which there can be many questions is the educational system from preschool through college, and if you're at the point of graduate school already, even there. I'm not saying everyone should abandon these things or take up these principles: only that you might consider the why's and other options.

To God be all glory.

Disclaimer: There is some crass humor and immodesty fairly typical of British comedies, so I'm not necessarily recommending the show.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Sometimes I wish I could make my font bright, glittering gold. How do you get text to say "Celebrate! Rejoice! Laugh!"?

This weekend I got curious and read about the Year of Jubilee as described in Leviticus 25. Verses 9-10 say: "Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family."

I don't have anything really deep to say; just to encourage you to imagine what it would have sounded like to hear trumpets blowing throughout a whole country. That is the way to start a Jubilee!

One day there will be a trumpet the whole world will hear. It will sound the return of Jesus for His Church. All who believe Jesus died for their sins and rose again will be part of that Jubilee: freedom, restoration, redemption, and eternal celebration. Think how those trumpets will sound.

To God be all glory.


O.E. glæd "bright, shining, joyous," from P.Gmc. *glathaz (cf. O.N. glaðr "smooth, bright, glad," O.Fris. gled, Du. glad "slippery," Ger. glatt "smooth"), from PIE *ghledho- "bright, smooth" (cf. L. glaber "smooth, bald," O.C.S. gladuku, Lith. glodus "smooth"), from PIE base *ghlei- "to shine, glitter, glow, be warm" (see gleam).
This weekend I'm glad. Gladness has been a theme. Friday night I attended a ladies retreat through my church where we had lessons focusing us on God and preparing our hearts for spending most of the day alone with God on Saturday. On Friday we worshiped. A song came to mind, We Will Dance, by David Ruis. If you click the link and read the lyrics, can't you just envision the glad Bridegroom, Great King of Kings, dancing at His wedding feast with the thousands of people who make up His bride?

Saturday was spent, then, for me, focusing on the relationship of Christ and the Church as Groom and Bride. I don't know how much you have thought about this or studied it. Recently I've become more aware of the betrothal connotations of the Lord's Supper, of the promises in John 14:2-3, and of course the direct references like that in Revelation 19.

Picture a man engaged to a woman who is far away. He calls her on the phone and reassures her of his love. He sends her gifts. They share delight in their love. She renews her resolve to be the most deserving bride she can be. They spend time building the relationship. And there is the anticipation of the wedding that makes them almost giddy. Closing her eyes, the bride-to-be can envision her Beloved celebrating at the feast. Ah, the dancing and singing and glad shouts. How she will glow!

So, translating those things spiritually, that's what I did on Saturday. Scripture testifies mightily of God's love for us. It challenges us to faithfulness and pure living. Books especially of prophecy provide us with inspiration and hope by painting pictures of the victory and fulfillment and restoration at the End. And then there is praise for the incredible, unspeakably undeserved love God lavishes on us.

Today in church people said I seemed to shine. Moses shone after he'd been with God. Can you really see it?

Be glad. Be with God. Shine.

To God be all glory.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Parable in the Brown Grass

A few days ago I wrote about the ugly ground under the snow. This morning as my eyes fluttered slowly towards awake I looked out the window and recalled a conversation I had with a friend yesterday. She reminded me that all that snow by melting had watered our lawns and would soon produce lush green grass.

One of the most gripping moments in Scripture to me is the period between the crucifixion and the resurrection. What did Jesus' followers think? Were they scattered or together? Did they cry? Did they try to talk through what happened and figure it out? I can only imagine most of them were devastated. Their lives the past few years had been wasted, they thought, on a false Messiah. Or maybe He had been Messiah, and God had lost. What did they think? How did they deal with these huge questions as well as the painful loss of a teacher and friend?

Going through those thoughts and questions is to me ideal preparation for Easter. We hear the whole world sing about the glorious resurrection, and our hearts leap with returned hope. The despair fades. Joy and faith tumble over one another in response to the undeniable truth.

And every spring, the season of Easter, the seeds in the ground and the brown dormant grass, so gloomy and lacking in evidence of hope, explode into verdant, fresh spring green. Flowers come. New life after the old dies. That's the parable written into the world.

So every time you see the ugly brown grass, think with hope. There will be green. Jesus did rise. As a born-again believer in Jesus you have been crucified with Christ and are a new creature. At the resurrection of the saints you will be given a new body for the old. Take hope!

To God be all glory.

Tomb of Jesus???

If you're curious about the show whose advertisements and hype have been blasted all over TV and other mediums, purporting to show you the tomb of Jesus - you know, with the casket and the body and everything - then you should read this article by Chuck Colson. He explains what even the typically anti-Christian "experts" said to discourage accepting the imaginative story presented in the documentary.

To begin with, if you find a tomb marked Joshua (which I'm sure is translated to English improperly, and should be Yeshua, which is Hebrew for Jesus) wouldn't be a big deal. If you remember there is a large book of the Old Testament featuring a warrior-leader of Israel both bearing that name. In the New Testament we find other references to men with that name.

Second, the tomb called this man "son of Joseph." If you remember, Jesus wasn't the son of Joseph. Joseph was his mother's husband.

The mother's name was Mary. So is the name inscribed on a nearby coffin. Of course, that must be the wife of Joshua. And of course, there were no Mary's except Mary Magdalene. Whoops. I just said there was a mother named Mary. And the mother of some of Jesus' apostles was Mary. And Lazarus' sister was Mary. In fact, Mary is the Greek form of Miriam, Moses' sister and famous prophetess of the Exodus. The name is also close to Marah, which Naomi takes to herself. It means bitter. At the time of the Roman occupation, to which these bodies date, surely the Jews found their lives a bit bitter.

Also found was a coffin labeled Judah, apparently. This is supposed in the documentary to be Jesus' son.

The problem? If you look at these facts from a Bible-believing perspective, as I do, then Jesus is not Joseph's son. He was not married. He did not have children. He rose again. So this could not be his body. The argument that Jesus did not rise is as old as the day He rose. But there is no explanation for how the body could have been removed, who removed it, why, or why they would not tell anyone. Most of the apostles died in horrible martyrdom refusing to deny the resurrection and deity of Jesus Christ. Liars don't die for their lies.

If you are a Bible-hating "expert" who has consulted on many anti-Christian investigations into the Bible, or if you are a Hollywood director looking for a shock, if you are one of millions who read The DaVinci Code as a novel but didn't quite shake the feeling that the author made some good - no, great points; then you see these facts differently. Since Jesus was only man, he could not have risen or ascended. We "know" he was married to Mary Magdalene, who was with him at a banquet (while the apostle John or one of the others is then curiously absent) depicted like a photograph by a Renaissance artist over a thousand years later. If he was married, it is only logical that he had a son. When we find a sarcophagus marked Joshua son of Joseph near one marked Mary, so that must be them.

The convincing factor is, which perspective has more consistency, more evidence, more first-hand records? Do the research, if you're wondering. Try Josh McDowell's books: Evidence that Demands a Verdict, More than a Carpenter, and The DaVinci Code: A Quest for Answers.

To God be all glory. Jesus lives!