Saturday, June 28, 2008

Home Safe and Sound

1,915 miles in one week.

Bob’s sister and her husband planned their 30th renewal vows ceremony for one year. We got an invitation in January, and thought to ourselves that it seemed so far into the future, and what with James’ graduation from college, and commissioning, and the nephew’s wedding in Georgia the end of May, I don’t know that we formally committed until all other activities were over.

All of Bob’s siblings made it, with their families and folks from his sister’s church, and even some cousins from Flower Mound and a long, lost cousin that lives close to where they held the vow renewal. (I kept calling it the re-enactment, but my family would laugh at me when I misspoke).

Some camped out at the site, the rest of us weenies camped out at the hotel in Bernalillo near Albuquerque. Bob and I enjoyed the top of Sandia at 10,678 feet. It was nice and cool up there. And as we proved, a gravel road 8 miles long where you cannot go faster than 8 mph means an hour drive. Bob SO needs a four wheeler.

The renewal ceremony was fine, and the food good, and the company even better. It was a family reunion. The little kids played well together. And the breeze whispered in the pines. Back at the hotel, more visiting, and stories shared, and a game of Scrabble or two.

Bob received the greatest gift—he got to see his own mom and aunts and grandparents on an old home movies tape his cousin shared. Bob said he had never seen his own mom in a home movie. And she was holding him as a baby and while there was no sound, she was doing word play and obviously enjoying him. Same with his mom’s Mom---she had a big grin on her face truly enjoying all the blonde grandchildren lined up with her.

We drove on north after the family reunion and wonderful lunch at the cousin’s ranch. Bob wanted to see some mountains and enjoy some cooler air (cooler than Texas). We stayed at Farmington, New Mexico and then drove to Durango and Silverton, Ouray, Montrose, Gunnison and Salida. Years ago we had taken the boys on the Durango train, so in my mind it is an all day trip from Durango to Silverton, but driving it is much better. Better view of the mountains and the towns.

At one scenic viewing spot, the helpful signs brag of the best and cleanest air, but the portapotty facilities quickly diminished that fact. Waiting in line behind an Australian lady, she commented, “whew—thunderbox”

From Salida of-no-cell-coverage to Canon City where they do not open the Royal Gorge park until midmorning, we drove on south to Pueblo, Raton, and the Capulin Volcano in the NE corner of New Mexico. We had enjoyed it last July when it was lush and green from lots of rain and during the ladybug migration. This time, it was dry and brown and in the middle of the gnat invasion. Bob walked the trail in under twenty minutes. There is this cool trail along the rim. It was too hot there for me. But, you can actually see the highest peak in Oklahoma from there, and along the road back into Texas. Dalhart to Channing to Amarillo. And I must brag again about THE best bathrooms on 287. Combination new plus museum plus architectural wonders and so clean you could do surgery on their floors. They are only a county apart, but I wonder if they had a competition or something. One each side of Childress and Quannah and Hedley.

Now a paragraph about the signage. Deer signs have this perky jumping deer complete with antlers. Some give mileage, for example, so that you know that for the next three or 26 miles to be on the lookout for perky, jumping deer. The only actual deer we saw on the entire trip was after Raton on the way to Capulin, and they were eating quietly beside the road camouflaged by coats the same color at the dried grass. Some signs ramped it up a bit with a bigger deer---maybe and elk or a moose? Have there been any moose spotted near Albuquerque?? And we saw a few sheep with horns, like a ram, near Monarch Pass. The milk cow sign near Capulin was a laugh, as all the cows in the nearby fields looked like black angus, but the sign showed udders.

I want to remember the tram at Monarch Pass. 11,312 feet. The operator up top said they had only been open three weeks because of heavy snows. 500 inches. It is a privately owned little operation, but well worth the visit. Clean bathrooms, and a huge gift shop, and museum pictures of the disasters and snow. There is an empty cement pallet on top near the observation station. It was so fun to lay down on top of it and watch the clouds roll by. I did back exercises, and wrapped in a heavy jacket we watched the wind pick up to 40 miles an hour, then die down to a breeze, and then howl again. It was hard to imagine 500 inches of snow, as that would have covered the two story tram house and observation deck. Pretty flowers dot the landscape, and I only saw one tiny bee trying to pollinate the flowers. This was the second time we had donned our jackets.

Now we are home, and the cat was glad to see us. She was needing a good scratch, and we are both now covered in cat hair. Laundry is a humming.

Someone or some group is smart and building three and four story new hotels throughout the country. They have about thirty rooms per floor, and an inside pool, and breakfast bar. The Comfort Inn in Amarillo had a Texas shaped waffle iron this morning. And the Holiday Inn Express hotels we stayed in were all nice. I like their peppery shampoo. We saw new Quality Inns, and Best Westerns---all in that rectangular shape. And all doing good business. The tubs at the Comfort Inn were too slippery, and the bathroom door arrangement irritatingly stupid.

I am not too sure what all is entailed in “antler products” near Trinidad, Colorado. But we saw lots of places with antlers piled high in wagons and adorning doorways and roofs.

Dishrags knitted and distributed to sisters-in-laws that like them, and a bag ready to mail to Suzanne. Bob did all the driving. I lost count of how many I knitted.

We kept in cell phone contact with James checking in each night. And marveled at all the rock formations to tell Lauren about. Lauren would love to see the rock formations near Bob’s cousin’s house where they filmed the movie, 9:10 to Yuma. Bob’s cousin said that sharks teeth had been discovered nearby, and gastroliths—stomach stones from whales. The rocks near the tunnels are Precambrian. Silverton is surrounded by pinker rocks, but the iron ore rich streams are orange. The falling rocks signage should be Colorado’s motto. And we also noted that there is plenty of real estate for sale in Colorado.

Cheapest gas was 3.85 in Childress, Texas today. Highest we paid was 4.17 in Raton, New Mexico.

My thanks to all who organized the family reunion. You know who you are. Now get busy on the sisters’ big five-oh in Branson in October.

And what a gift we were given in getting to meet a cousin only two months older than Bob. Bob had told me stories about their adventures growing up visiting relatives in El Paso and Carlsbad. This cousin only has one sister, so he seemed to be enjoying being reunited with eight first cousins, and numerous second cousins. He is talented and has a beautiful wife, and wonderful ranch. I hope we can get a copy of his home movie tape and get copies made for all the siblings. A picture is worth a thousand words, but a movie is worth a library, in my opinion.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Back In Amarillo

yuck. should have put it in "word" first. Just lost a whole page about our vacation. I will try again tomorrow. Sorry folks.

short version: good time at the family reunion.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

On The Road Again...Just Can't Wait to Get On the Road Again...

Time for another trip. This week finds us winding west. Wide open spaces !!! Vistas !

Sunsets. Mountains.

But first, to pack. And then there is the last minute check off list. Do you ever add stuff to the list afterwards and give it that satisfying check?

You'd think we'd save the list from trip to trip. But, no. Alas. I am a throw away person. If something is not used nor needed, it is thrown away. Even the invitation to this next event, that we received back in January, which was carefully taped to the shelf for months...even that invitation with the nifty, handy map somehow got thrown out. Last time I saw it, it was on the table by Bob's chair. I had shown it to him, and neglected to tape it back up so we don't lose it, mind you, but it got covered with some torn-in-half junk mail and voila'. Thankfully, we were able to find an old email, and google-earthed it. Best to let the driver of our family see the route ahead of time, in my opinion. Google earth estimates a two hour drive up unpaved roads to the campsite from the hotel??!! Yikes. What an adventure. Our minivan is not a four-wheeler. Whoa.

I can't wait to see great-nephews in person that we have only seen in pictures!

And it sounds like it is turning into a family reunion with most of Bob's siblings coming---if not all.

Bob's youngest sister (what, twenty minutes younger than her sisters) has been married almost thirty years. They are going to do a renewal of their vows. I keep calling it a re-en-actment. But, that makes my family laugh at me for some reason. We were not able to attend the original wedding thirty years ago because Bob was in the Army and we were stationed across the country at Fort Stewart at the time. But, I heard it was lovely. There was the famous family heirloom bridal veil. And it was held in a quaint little old church with no air-conditioning, near El Paso, at the end of June...114 degrees??!! But, it was dry heat. What fun ! And they went camping for their honeymoon. What brave souls.

The bags are packed. Yes, huge clear ziplock baggies. Our good Lands End luggage went with our sons as they left home. I like the ziplock bags because you can see at a glance where the socks and essentials are hidden. I packed Bob's with one pair of jeans, two t-shirt choices (patriotic and plain and spiritual messages) and two polo shirt choices, two pair underwear, two pair socks, and a pair of jogging shorts for lounging around/modesty. (One year I packed my then six-year-olds clothing in just stacks in the suitcase for that trip west with Dad and was amused to see my dear son still dressed in pjs at Mount Rushmore in their vacation pictures.)

Cooler is ready. I have been making ice cubes for weeks. Silly me---it dawned upon me that a gallon jug of ice might work just as well to keep the precious coffeemate liquid fresh. Bob prefers coffeemate french vanilla. I like the new tirimisu. Yum. Powdered instant coffee is great to have on hand to ramp up the iced coffees. Wasn't it McDonalds that started the iced coffee craze? It is so much better to get your jolt from iced coffee than from scalding, in my opinion.

Knitting. Check. Huge balls of cotton yarn at the ready. Knitting needles, scissors, crochet hook (for tucking in the strings) and an envelope to mail them to my dear friend in Ennis if I don't find any takers along the way. Walmart carries the yarn I use, but the newer ones do not, so just in case... But, I do like checking out Walmart in other cities, don't you?? Smaller, friendlier, yet the same stuff, which is somehow comforting as some socks need replaced pretty soon.

I'd like to see some stars. We live in a very busy, very bright area of Texas, and our huge oak trees block the sunsets, too. The stars we see are just the major ones, like Orion, and the Big Dipper. I hope we get to see the whole shebang one night or two.

Soon as Bob has given that Sunday School lesson tomorrow...

Soon as we go through that checklist...

Soon as we top off the kitty's food and water. (She spotted the bags and is on to us. At least the cat is healthier this trip. When we went to a wedding in Georgia last month, we came home to a full catfood dispenser, and puny cat on her death bed. She is down to just a few of her nine lives, but thankfully, still alive. Sallycat thinks my shoulders and lap are a good perch once a day. She does not always warn me that she is about to leap. I have the holes on my arms to prove it.)

We will be bringing the Scrabble game along. We hauled it all over the west last August picking up James in Washington state, and never played a game. But, the Georgia wedding trip found us buying a cheap set to satisfy a challenge among Bob's brothers. In one last game today, Bob was mighty quick to slap an "S" on the top of my huge word, "MOTHERING". But, I did lay it on the triple, and beat him again.

The back yard is mowed. Whoops---better hunt the sweaty mowing clothes down and give them a wash so that we don't come home to a house smelling like sweaty mowing clothing.

We took our first trip sans children at Spring Break to see the Grandbaby. Second trip this year was the wedding in Georgia with the blooming Mimosa trees. And swinging north to see James at Fort Knox. This will be our third road trip this year. We are getting good at (picky) finding hotels with double showers, first floor, king size bed, no smoking. We are not used to double showers at home, nor king sized bed. A bed as big as your bedroom---who thought of that! Who-hoo. Living high on the hog when we travel, we do. I still remember the ladybug convention atop that Volcano in New Mexico, Capulin, last summer. And the humming birds that liked my red shirt atop the mountain passes in Colorado. That was fun.

I remembered to notify the children this time. There was some complaint from the youngest that we did not tell him about the last trip. I text messaged him from that same spot he helped make so memorable with his brother so many years ago---that Exit P-P in Missouri, which little boys can take very literal and we have the picture to prove it.

Stop mail online. How easy is that!!! And try to achieve that we-are-still-home look with lights and radio, and shoes positioned just so. And hope that if/when our youngest does visit or check on the cat that he remembers to lock the front door?! Many a time we have come home from church and wondered what distracted one of our dear sons from pulling the front door shut on their way out. Was it a cup of hot coffee? Dropping their tie? Forgetting their Bible? How could you not lock the front door? Another mystery that will not be solved until heaven home when we ask to see the video. One video I can't wait for God to show me is which little toddler shoved the garden hose up into the dryer vent and which one turned on the water??!!! We could never get a conclusive confession.

Still need to get a new roof put on. And the weeds out front---will the city understand when I say I am going for that "natural" look. Xeriscope or something?

Sorry if you live south of us. It is just too darn hot to travel to your climes. And with flooding along the Mississippi, better avoid that area of the country for a while. The pictures are amazing. Poor pigs trapped on roofs of barns and houses. Water up to the roof tops. Block after block of submerged devestation. The blog stories of little towns that might be gone forever is heart wrenching. Sometimes little towns die because the railroad did not come through there, or because the jobs went elsewhere. But, it is sad when families, generations cannot go home because home has been swept away.

We'll be blogging about our adventures. Looking for blog fodder along the way, so stay tuned. And with our cell phones leashes handy, only a phone call away. We even have the nifty recharger thingy for in the car that plugs into the old timey cigarette lighter. It snaps my thumb every time I press the recoil, just like a tape measure. You'd think I'd learn...

We sent pictures of new chairs to firstborn, and he is convinced that we are about to install a jacuzzi and buy a bass boat with all our new found riches (i.e. birdies flown the nest). So, maybe along the way, we can stage a few shots of the old folks standing in a jacuzzi or by a bass boat. I have not posted pictures in a while, have I? Well, then, I'd better get busy looking for interesting pictures to blog here for our fans, hadn't I!!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

What Jesus Said

Re-reading the words Jesus spoke in Matthew again, I keep coming back to the verses right after “The Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6. As Christians we are often guilty of lifting verses out of context. And while the Lord’s Prayer is good, and memorized by almost everyone, it is good to read it in context every once in a while. And to be reminded:

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

If therefore the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

At first, it looks like an analogy. Clear eye plus light equals whole body full of light. Bad eye? Why not blindness? If the light that is in you is darkness---is this talking about character?

The very next verse talks about: No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

And now comes a lot about being anxious. And how: your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

God knows we need food, water, clothing.

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The very next verse is the most quoted verse in all the world. If a person only knows one verse of the whole Bible, especially if that person does not want to dwell on the fact that there is a God with perfect standards, and to God we will all be accountable, then, they know this verse: Do not judge lest you be judged.

The very next verse says: For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. (So, it looks like there is some judging going on, but do it fairly, knowing that you are not perfect either?)

And the whole next section confirms this in context. It does not say be apathetic about others and their problems. It does say, don’t be a hypocrite. First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. (it is not just a waste, but the danger of violent reaction---I had not noticed that part in a few readings through.)




Jesus reminds us. If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

And this is where we get the golden rule. Do unto others… however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Jesus warns us to beware the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.

(and unless you observe and “judge” others fruits…)

Jesus tells us in Matt 8:11 that many shall come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven,…

So don’t let anyone say there will not be eating in heaven.

What will we say to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob? I read your stories in the Bible. I heard your stories preached. But, what was it like? And what do you think now as you see God fulfill all those promises He made to you?

Won’t heaven be fun? We will sit and learn and marvel.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

New Bifocals

I think I am going to have to take these bifocals back. They reveal way too many cobwebs.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

God's Way is Best

Thus Says The LORD

(A phrase that appears 418 times in 416 verses.)

According To The Word Of The LORD

(29 in 29 verses)

Declares The Lord

(346 in 336 verses)

The Word of the Lord

(256 times in 254 verses)

God said

(46 times in 46 verses)

Jesus said, If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

That makes us responsible to know what God said, right?

What other phrases establish or proclaim God's perfect authority?

What other verses challenge us to know and obey God's way?

We can't love God on our own power. He gives us the power, the Holy Spirit, and the desire. We don't obey for salvation, but because He rescued us and we are amazed, and compelled because we know His way of doing things is best.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Circumcision, A Sensitive Subject

I realize that circumcision is a very sensitive subject. But, I get so angry when I hear about little girls being circumcised in the religion that is Islam. Circumcision is ONLY for males. Let's look at what the BIBLE says about the subject:

According to a Quickverse search, circumcise/circumcision appear 87 times in 74 verses. And the word "foreskin" only appears eleven times in eleven verses.

The first occurrence is found in the story of Abraham. Circumcision of the foreskin of the males of Genesis 17 was to be a sign of the Covenant between God and the Jews. Abraham was 99 years old, his son Ishmael was thirteen years old, and all the males in Abraham's entourage---male servants, male shepherds, even male slaves bought with money were circumcised that day. And God ordered that from then on, a male baby was to be circumcised on the eighth day. Uncircumcised males were to be cut off from his people, God said, because "he has broken My Covenant." One year later, the Son of the Promise, Isaac, was circumcised on the eighth day.

Moses' wife, Ziporrah, called her husband "a bridegroom of blood" when she had to use a flint to cut off the foreskin of her son in Exodus 4:25. Moses had neglected this duty, and almost died for it. God required this to be done before Moses could appear before Pharoah in Egypt to let God's People GO ! Zipporah appears in the Cecile B. DeMille version of the Exodus, but in the BIBLE, we don't see Zipporah again until her father, Jethro visits Moses AFTER the Exodus and tries to return Zipporah and give Moses advice on delegating responsibilities. Moses respected his father-in-law. So, in my opinion, God used this test to weed out the weaker link, Zipporah, on their way to Egypt.

King Saul was probably hoping that the bride price of one-hundred foreskins would get David killed. But, David killed 200 Philistines in battle all by himself, and his buddies contributed the enemy they had killed. Wouldn't you like to see the assembly line for that? This is a bride price that David never lets his first wife forget. Maybe she had some beaten gold foreskins made into a necklace to commemorate the event?

Deuteronomy 10:16 says to "Circumcise then your heart, and stiffen your neck no more." And again in Deuteronomy 30:6 we read: "The Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul in order that you may LIVE!" (emphasis mine)

The book of Romans has the most New Testament references as the early church battles with following the Law to the letter, and grafting in the Christian Gentiles. Paul points out that circumcision was an OUTWARD SIGN, never a means of salvation. Sadly, there will be a lot of circumcised men in Hell forever.

Again, I can't emphasize enough, that circumcision was only for MALES. Never females. Never. Ever. Never. The brutal mutilation of females in Islam is cruel, based on superstition, and murder, as many little girls die each year when unsanitary conditions and unsanitary tools are used on them. The practice should be condemned world wide.

Circumcision in the Bible, continued…

Jeremiah 9:25 is the last occurrence on the Old Testament. Lets get a running start from verse 24:

“…But let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindess, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD. “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “that I will punish all who are circumcised and yet uncircumcised---Egypt, Judah, and Edom, and the sons of Ammon, and Moab and all those inhabiting the desert who clip the hair on their temples; for all the nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised of heart.”

The outward sign of circumcision is nothing without the inward spiritual.

The first circumcision in the New Testament is baby John on the eighth day, Luke 1:59. Baby JESUS is the next mention in Luke 2:21.

Jesus discusses His reasons for healing on the Sabbath and compares it to circumcising on the Sabbath in John 7:22 and 23.

Dealing with uncircumcised new Christians, and eating with uncircumcised Gentiles was a shock to the systems of the Jews as seen in the book of Acts 10:45 and 11:2. The Apostle Peter had to relate the vision and direct instructions he had received from God as uncircumcised Gentiles are grafted into Christianity. Israel rejected their Messiah, so the dispensation of Israel is set aside, and the Church Age begins. There are seven years left of the dispensation of Israel, so God will not only finish it, but set in place one thousand years of perfection when Jesus comes back and rules, and sets everything right.

The Pharisees thought that circumcision and keeping the Law was necessary for salvation, but the apostles fight this notion throughout the rest of Acts and into the Church Age. Paul circumcises Timothy because it was a distraction from giving the Gospel.

Circumcision in the New Testament book of Romans:

2:25 For indeed circumcision is of value, if you practice the Law, but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.

2:26,27,28,29 and in the very next chapter:

3:1- Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God. What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar…

Romans 3:30 since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.

(And Abraham’s circumcision is explained in great detail in the very next chapter of Romans 4 and we see what our attitude as Christians should be.)

Abraham believed in God while uncircumcised, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Salvation is a free gift. Paul puts it so well. Please read Romans 4.

To the Corithians, Paul says: “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matter is keeping the commandments of God.

That’s right, as Christians, we are saved by faith in the work of Jesus on the Cross, and only by faith in that same Jesus on a daily, hourly basis, can we keep His instructions.

Paul deals with the subject in the book of Galations, one of the earliest letters he wrote, and which was circulated and read and made a part of the New Testament cannon of Scripture. Galations 2:3, 7, 8, 9, and 12 and in Galations 5:2, 3, 6, and 11. And in Galations 6:12, 13, 15 and in Colossians and Philippians.

Let me say again, circumcision in the New Testament was only for males, and usually performed the eighth day as the Old Testament commanded. It was NEVER a source of salvation. It was a sign, a teaching tool. After Jesus, the Perfect Jew, came and fulfilled the Law completely, and perfectly, and died on the Cross and was raised on the third day, just as He promised, the practice of circumcision was not required among the new Christians who were Gentiles. God came down pretty hard on any still confused by 70 AD when Jerusalem fell to the Romans. Christianity is about putting our faith in Jesus as the Savior, the only Perfect Person, who came, just as He promised throughout the Old Testament that He would. And we believe Jesus is coming back, just as He Promised.

Circumcision today on males has been practiced in the USA for over one hundred years as a merely hygienic practice. My father, my brothers, my husband, my sons are all circumcised. I have heard that the practice is falling out of style among the medical community. That is sad. Because I believe it is cleaner, and reduces infection in the wives when their husbands are circumcised.

I can NOT say it enough. Circumcision is only to be performed on males. It is never for females. Period.

Colossians 3:9-17 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him---a renewal in which there is NO distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, Christ is all, and in all. And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body, and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Our 27th Father's Day?

Youngest son gave his dear old Dad the JOHN ADAMS dvd series. We talked to middle son last night where he described some combat training involving IV needles. And the firstborn called this morning with the grandbaby exercising her lungs in the background. And sure enough, that very busy young father asked, "what do y'all do all day??" For our nest is empty, and at this point in our firstborn's life, he cannot imagine quiet days nor empty hours. Too funny.

I knit. We both blog. Then there are the regular, though shorter tasks of laundry, meals, dishes, grocery shopping. And the Dad still goes to work each day. The grass did not need mowing this weekend, but it will by next Saturday. And every other weekend, I give the Dad a haircut. I'm sorry we were not there to help the firstborn move into a new place.

Twenty-seven years ago, Father's Day took on new significance. And Bob has been blessed with ties, and mostly tools, ever since. I hope Bob remembers to say something to his Sunday School class about Father's Day, but I am afraid to mention it lest I become a Sunday School lesson illustration on nagging.

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there. And GrandDADs.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Letter from Sarah

I was born Sarai in Ur of the Chaldeans. I lived to be 127 years old. My name appears 60 times in the Bible in 49 verses.

My husband, Abraham (born Abram, but God later renamed him) was called out by the Lord God Almighty to leave Ur, told to leave his family and go to a Promised Land. Terah, my father and father-in-law, got wind of it, and we all set out and got as far as Haran where Terah died. My husband became the head of the family, and we traveled on to Canaan.

I lived in tents practically my whole married life. Today, people call it “camping.” Tents gave us shelter from the sun, and we had plenty of servants to haul them around and set them up.

My husband worshipped God Almighty, the Lord Most High, and sacrificed lambs on an altar near our tent site in Canaan by the oak of Moreh near Shechem. Abraham told us about God’s promises. Abraham prayed aloud, calling on the Lord Most High at another altar he built east of Bethel.

My husband, Abraham was 75 years old when we left Haran, and since I am nine years younger, I was 66 years old at the time. I thought it curious that my husband was promised descendants because I was barren. Do you know how painful it is to live 66 years and never get to hold your own baby? To wonder why? To wonder who would care for you in your old age? To be tested and promised descendants and to watch your body approach menopause?

When we traveled toward the Negev, there was a famine in the land, so my husband decided to go to Egypt. God had blessed me with great beauty. Abraham took me aside, and pointed out that I was still very, very beautiful and he was afraid the Egyptians would kill him if they discovered I was his wife. So, he asked me to lie and say I was his sister. Technically, we shared the same father, but not the same mother, so sure enough, when we got to Egypt, Pharoah’s officials saw me and praised me to Pharoah and I was taken into Pharoah’s house. Pharoah treated Abraham well, giving him sheep, oxen, donkeys, servants, and camels. I think that is where we picked up my personal servant, Hagar.

The Lord struck Pharoah and his house with great plagues because of me. Pharoah somehow found out and confronted Abraham with: “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘she is my sister’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife, take her and go!”

I heard Pharoah give the orders to his men, and they escorted us away and let us keep all that now belonged to us. Now, my husband, Abraham was a very rich man. We traveled back to the Negev and I could not believe all the livestock, silver and gold. We traveled back to where it all began between Bethel and Ai, to the place of the altar Abraham built, and Abraham called on the name of the Lord God Almighty.

We had so much livestock that the land could not sustain all the flocks and herds. Our herdsmen began fighting, and the Canaanite and Perizzite were still dwelling in the land, too. My husband, Abraham said to Lot, his nephew, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me: if you go to the left, then I will go to the right or if you choose right, then I will go left.

Lot lifted up his greedy eyes and chose for himself the valley of the Jordan, that well-watered land that was so beautiful, some compared it to the garden of the Lord, and like the land of Egypt on the way to Zoar.

Abraham settled in Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the valley close to the city of Sodom. The men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the Lord.

After Lot left us, the Lord told Abraham that all the land, north, south, east and west, God said, “I will give it to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered.” And God said, “Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth, for I will give it to you.” Abraham moved our tents and we dwelt by the oaks of Mamre near Hebron and there he built another altar to the Lord.

A fugitive came and told Abraham that his nephew, Lot had been captured by the five kings that overran the four kings of the four cities in the Jordan valley. When Abraham heard that our relative had been captured, he led out his trained men, 318 total loyal to us, most of whom had been born in our tents. Abraham pursued as far as Dan and then divided his forces that night and defeated them. Abraham pursued them as far as north of Damascus. And he took back all the goods, and brought back Lot, an all his possessions, and also all the women and the people.

After Abraham returned from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and his kings, the king of Sodom came out to meet him. But, Melchizedek, King of Salem got to Abraham first and brought out bread and wine, and blessed Abraham. Melchizedek is not only the king of Salem, but a priest of God Most High, also. A king-priest. (just like Jesus will be someday) King-Priest Melchizedek reminded Abraham that God Most High delivered his enemies into his hand, so when the king of Sodom asked for all the slaves, Abraham said, “I have sworn to the Lord God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, lest you brag that you made me rich.” Abraham said, “I will take nothing except what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me, my allies, Eschcol, Aner and Mamre. Let them take their share.”

God appeared to my husband, Abraham, in a vision after that saying, “Do not fear, I am a shield to you. Your reward shall be very great.”

My husband argued with God about maybe making Elizer of Damascus his heir? But, God said, “No, this man will not be your heir. But, one who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.” And God took Abraham outside at night and said, “Now look toward the heavens and count the stars, if you are able to count them. So shall your descendants be.” Abraham believed in the Lord and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness. God reminded Abraham that “I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.”

I thought it so strange when God asked my husband to bring him a three year old heifer, a three year old female goat, and a three year old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon. Abraham had asked, “how may I know that I shall possess this land?” And Abraham brought all these animals to God and cut them in two and laid each half opposite the other, all except the birds. My husband said he drove away the birds of prey, and a deep sleep fell on him. Terror and a great darkness fell upon him. God warned my husband that “your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed for 400 years.” But God promised to come and judge the nation whom they served, and afterward they will come out with many possessions. Abraham was told, “as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace. You shall be buried at a good old age. Then the fourth generation, they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.” Abraham said he then saw a smoking oven and a flaming torch pass between the pieces of the animals cut in half. On that day, the Lord made a covenant with Abraham saying, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the Euphrates.”

I was still called Sarai at the time. I had this Egyptian maid, Hagar, and I started nagging Abraham: “now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go into my maid, perhaps I shall obtain children through her.” Sadly, Abraham should have asked God if that was such a good idea. Abraham listened to my voice. We had lived ten years in Canaan when I gave her my husband as his wife. Abraham went in to Hagar and she conceived, and when she saw that she had conceived, she despised me. She had the nerve to look down on me. I could not take Hagar’s gloating. I told Abraham, my husband, “may the Lord judge between you and me.” But Abraham told me that Hagar was my maid, and in my power to do with her what is good in my sight. So, I, Sarai, treated Hagar harshly. And Hagar ran away. She fled from my sight.

God found Hagar by a spring of water in the wilderness on the way to Shur. God asked her where she’d been and where she was going. God told Hagar to return to me, Sarai, and submit to my authority. God promised to greatly multiply Hagar’s descendants so that they shall bee too many to count. God said to Hagar: you are with child, you shall bear a son, and you shall call his name, Ishmael because the Lord has given heed to your affliction.” God warned Hagar that Ishmael would be a “wild donkey of a man.” Hagar called God, “Thou art a God who Sees.” Hagar marveled that she remained alive even after seeing God!

Hagar came back and bore Abraham that son. My husband was 86 when Ishmael was born. Thirteen years later, when Abraham was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to Abraham and said: “I am God Almighty. Walk before Me, and be blameless. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply your exceedingly.” And my husband fell on his face, and God talked to him saying, “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham for I will make you the father of a multitude of nations. And I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you. And I will establish My Covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout all their generations for an everlasting covenant to be God to you and to your descendants after you. And I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”

God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you. And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, even your male servants.” “Thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.” God told Abraham that uncircumcised males were to be cut off from his people as they had broken My covenant.

Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. The I will bless her and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall come from her.”

Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”

And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before Thee!”

But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; (which means laughter in Hebrew) and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.” “And as for Ishmael, I have heard you, behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. Ishmael shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.”

“But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear you at this season next year.” And when He finished talking with my husband, God went up from Abraham. Then Abraham took Ishmeal, and all the male servants, and circumcised the flesh of the foreskin in the very same day, as God had said to him. Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.

Now the Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day. Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when Abraham saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the earth, and said, “My lord, if now I have found favor in your sight, please do not pass your servant by. Please let a little water be brought and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree; and I will bring a piece of bread, that you may refresh yourselves; after that you may go on, since you have visited your servant.” And they agreed.

So Abraham hurried into the tent and said to me, Sarah, “Quickly, prepare three measure of fine flour, knead it, and make bread cakes.” Then Abraham also ran to the herd, and took a tender and choice calf and gave it to the servant, and the servant hurried to prepare it. Abraham took curds and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and placed it before the three men, and he was standing by them under the tree as they ate.

Then they said to Abraham, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And Abraham answered, “Behold, in the tent.”

And he said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And I was listening at the tent door, which was behind my husband. I thought about how we were old, advanced in age, way past childbearing. And I laughed to myself, “after I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”

And the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?’ Is anything too difficult for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”

I denied laughing, because I was afraid. And the Lord said, “no, but you did laugh.”

Then the men rose up from there, and looked down toward Sodom; and Abraham was walking with them to send them off. The Lord considered hiding from Abraham what He was about to do, but since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed, God said, “For I have chosen him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice; in order that the Lord my bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.”

God told Abraham about the outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah, how their sin was exceedingly grave.

Abraham was concerned that God would sweep away the righteous with the wicked, so he proposed that if there were fifty righteous, he asked God if He would indeed sweep it away? How about if there were only forty or twenty or ten? Surely, Abraham thought, there are ten righteous. God promised not to destroy Sodom if there were ten.

Abraham and I traveled with all our servants toward the Negev and sojourned in Gerar. Abraham told Abimelech, king of Gerar that I, Sarah, “is my sister.” Abimelech sent and took me. But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him: “Behold, you are a DEAD man because of the woman whom you have taken for she is married.”

Now Abimelech had not come near me, and he said, “Lord, wilt Thou slay a nation, even though blameless? Did he not himself say to me, ‘she is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘he is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.” Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against ME, therefore I did not let you touch her. Now therefore, restore the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you, and you will live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”

So Abimelech arose early in the morning and he called his servants and told them all these things in their hearing, and the men were greatly frightened. Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done.” “What have you encountered that you have done this thing?”

And Abraham answered, “Because I thought, surely there is no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife. Besides, she actually is my sister, the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife; and it came about, when God caused me to woander form my father’s house, that I said to her, ‘this is the kindness which you will show to me: everywhere we go, say of me, ‘He is my brother.’”

Abimelech then took sheep and oxen and servants and gave them to Abraham and restored me, Sarah, to him.

And Abimelech said, “Behold, my land is before you, settle wherever you please.” And to me, Sarah, he said, “Behold I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver, behold, it is your vindication before all who are with you, and before all men you are cleared.”

And Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his maids, so that they born children. For the Lord had closed fast all the wombs of the household of Abimelech because of me, Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

Then the Lord took note of me, Sarah, as He said, and the Lord did for me as He promised. I conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of our son, Isaac. Then Abraham circumcised our son, Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. (Remember, how I said that Isaac is the Hebrew word for “laughter?”) And I, Sarah, said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.” And I also said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

Our story does not end there. Isaac grew and was weaned, and Abraham made a great feast on the day Isaac was weaned. When I, Sarah, saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, mocking, I told Abraham, “drive out this maid and her son, for the son of this maid shall not be an heir with my son Isaac.”

This matter distressed Abraham greatly, but God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid, whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac your descendants shall be named. And of the son of the maid I will make a nation also, because he is your descendant.” Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave them to Hagar, and sent her and the boy away.

I enjoyed my son Isaac for thirty-six years before it was my time to die. I saw him become a man. I know now from Scripture that my dear husband, Abraham, mourned when I died, and went to a lot of trouble to purchase a piece of land with a cave to bury me. Our neighbors were willing to give the land to Abraham, but it was important to my husband to pay a fair price for it. Abraham told the sons of Heth that “I am a stranger and a sojourner among you; give me a burial site among you that I may bury my dead out of my sight.” Ephron said that the land was worth four hundred shekels of silver, so Abraham weighted out the silver and the land was deeded over to my husband. When Abraham died at the age of 175 years old, he would be buried there, too. As well as Isaac, and my future grandson, Jacob. And you can read their stories in Genesis and Exodus. All that God promised came to pass.

As for my son, Isaac, four years after I died, God directed my husband’s servant to find the perfect wife for him back in Nahor among our relatives. Isaac brought Rebekah into my old tent, and she became his wife, and Isaac loved her, and thus Isaac was comforted after my death. For twenty years, Rebekah was barren, but Isaac kept praying, and she gave birth to twins! But, you can read her story in Genesis.

I like that verse in Hebrews that mentions me in the list: “By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered HIM faithful who had promised, therefore, also, there was born of one man, and him as good as dead that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

I am thankful that Abraham did not tell me about that camping trip until afterwards when God tested my husband and told him to offer up his uniquely born son, Isaac. Abraham was willing, and confident that God would raise Isaac back from the dead, but God provided a ram caught in the thicket. Some say that the place my husband bound Isaac to the altar was the very same place Jesus would be put on a cross. As Hebrews 11:19 says, Isaac was “a type”, a picture or foreshadowing of what was to come. God would not spare His own uniquely born Son, and thanks to what He did, we wait in heaven for the future day when God will finish fulfilling all the promises He made to us.

Thank you for reading my story. See you in heaven, my children.

Love, Sarah, wife of Abraham,

(for as Scripture says in I Peter 3:6,) “Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.”

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Happy Father's Day

Jesus was a Jew. Who knew?

More precisely: Jesus chose to be a Jew. In fact, Jesus invented Jews. I believe Jesus invented everything. Jesus is the Creator.

As Jew, Jesus perfectly fulfilled the Law and then became the perfect sacrifice, as only He could do as the perfect Man. To understand the New Testament better, we need to know what it means to be a Jew, and Jewish scholars have written books on the subject. But, what does the Bible say about what it means to be Jewish? And what laws came even before the giving of the Law? Murder comes to mind. Noah was commanded not to murder. And Noah came years and years before Abraham. To understand being a Jew and being a Christian, we need to know Abraham’s story, because there is a New Testament verse about Christians being Abraham’s. (spiritual children)

Galations 3:25- “But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all ov you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise…(4:4) But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who are under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’”

Quickverse shows that Abraham appears 309 times in 277 verses starting in Genesis 11.

The book of Genesis telescopes down to Abraham’s family. Abraham was born Abram and in Genesis 12 the Lord said to Abram: Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you ALL the families of the earth shall be blessed. (emphasis mine)

The very next verse tells us that Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram’s father, Terah, died in Haran, and Abram is now the head of his family.

God spoke to him. Amazing, eh?

Seventy-five years old, too.
God’s promise includes: a special, specific land, the promise of descendants, a nation, blessings, a great name, reputation, and how GOD will make him great, prosperous, and a blessing and how GOD will protect him and his descendents. And the promise that all the families of the earth shall be blessed---for from Abraham will come the future, promised Messiah, Redeemer King.

It is interesting to me that God did not slap a lot of rules and laws on Abraham first thing. First, God calls him out of his old culture, away from the influences of his old family of origin. God is about to make something new. And in God’s wonderful sense of humor, promises him descendants and then make it obvious that even the child of Promise will be a miracle from God when Abraham is one hundred years old, and has the new name God gives Him. The Jewish race is truly unique, special, blessed. And with this comes satanic attack, as the enemy will seek to destroy the Promised One all the way to the Cross.

The story of Abraham from age 75 to 100 is a fascinating one. See Genesis 11 to 18.

Genesis 12 Abraham and his wife and nephew and entourage set out for the land of Canaan. And we learn that Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. And God appears to Abram and restates the promise: “To your descendants I will give this land.” So Abram built and altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him.

This oak of Moreh will be the future burial site of first Sarah, then Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Altar building and worship harkens back to the beginning, and it was the way God showed Adam and Eve how to worship. Abel to Noah knew how. The altar with a perfect lamb forshadowed the future Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.

Abram proceeded from Shechem to “east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, …and there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord.”

After a detour to Egypt and flunking a test, Genesis 13 tells us the story of Lot, and how Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom. Genesis 13:13 says: “Now the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the Lord.”

There is a topic all by itself. Wickedness existed and sinners are against the Lord. Too often we gloss over the subject of sin. Sin is against God. God can’t stand sin, and judges sin. The Dead Sea is the covering for what was a beautiful, green valley. And while Genesis telescopes down to the family of Abraham, God still cares and is very much involved in the whole world. God intervenes when sin reaches a point that a civilization or country or city becomes self-destructive. We need to remember that as a nation under God. There is God’s Way of doing things, and all else is sinful. Our country was founded on Biblical principles. We are responsible to know what the Bible says. And as Christians, we need to know why we no longer worship altar-style.

Genesis 13:18 says that Abram moved his tent and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.

Oaks of Mamre versus the Oaks of Moreh---can someone help me here? Geographically? Which one becomes the burial place? I think it’s the Oaks of Mamre.

God told Abram to walk about the land, and promised that all the land which you see would be God’s gift to him and his descendants forever. The true Holy Land. And it’s a much bigger piece of real estate than the Jews today know. In God’s perfect timing, God will restore, and bring peace when He comes back to rule. I like to think that God enjoyed showing Abraham this special land. And Abraham camped out on it his whole life.

Abraham did not build cities as had been the custom. And from Abraham’s tents to God tabernacling way before a temple is built, all in God’s perfect ways and perfect timing.

Genesis 14 tells us about Abram’s army and rescue of captive Lot and the story of Melchizedek, king of Salem.

Why didn’t God make Melchizedek the first Jew? The Bible says that Mel was a King Priest of God Most High. When Mel meets Abram, bringing bread and wine, he blesses Abram and proclaims: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And Abram gives Mel a tenth. A tithe.

Mel reminds Abram that everything---success, protection, possessions, purpose, comes from God Most High.

We will see more about Melchizedek in the New Testament as in the “order of Melchizedek” so his lesson and example is not over. Some believe Mel was Shem who could have still been alive during Abram’s time. (Noah’s three sons, Shem, Ham and Japeth. Abram was a descendant of Shem)

Genesis 15 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision saying, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.”

Abram brings up his childlessness, and asks if Eliezer of Dmaascus could be his heir, but God says, NO. God says that your heir will come forth from your own body. And God took him outside and said: “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them…so shall your descendants be.”

The very next verse, Genesis 15:6 says: “Then he believed in the Lord; and He (God) reckoned it to him as righteousness. And He (God) said to him: “I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.”

Next comes the curious question Abram asks, and God’s even curious-er directions to “Bring Me a three year old heifer, and a three year old female goat, and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”

Abram obeys, and God warns Abram that “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. But, I will also judge the nation whom they will serve; and afterward they will come out with many possessions. And as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. Then in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.”

And we see in Genesis 15:17 the miracle of the smoking oven and flaming torch pass between the pieces of the animals Abram had cut in two. God gets very specific with the boundaries of the Promised Land: “From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates…”

As you and I know when we look at a map, this land includes what is now Egypt and as far as Iraq. I’d be pretty nervous if I lived there because God never lies. God is going to fulfill this Promise in His Perfect Time.

Even after all these visions, talks, promises, miracles, and proclamations, in Genesis 16, we read how Abram’s wife gets the bright idea of taking the literal, “from your body” to mean not her, but maybe Hagar?? And the gift of Arab nations that plague Israel to this day. Thanks, Sarah. If only Abram had asked God first before acting on the voice of his wife.

God is so gracious to Hagar, and shows that He can work no matter what crazy ideas we humans come up with. God turns cursing to blessing in how He handles the Hagar situation. God appears to Hagar, and I think we will see her in heaven someday, don’t you?

Genesis 17 Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him: “I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be blameless. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you exceedingly.” And Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying, “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be ABRAHAM; for I will make you the father of a multitude of nations. And I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you andkings shall come forth from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasing covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. And I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you. And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations…and Sarah shall be her name…I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” Then Abraham fell on his 99 year old face and laughed, and said in his heart, “will a child be born to a man one hundred years old?? And will Sarah, who is 90 years old, bear a child?”

Abraham even asks about Ishmael but God says, NO. God says again that Sarah is the one --- Genesis 17:19 “But God said, NO, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac (means laughter) and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.” God makes promises about Ishmael, but again, God repeats, that “MY covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year.”

Let’s review: God tells Abraham that he will have a miracle baby, a son, and what he is to call him. God names Isaac. God tells Abraham to cut off his foreskin and the foreskin of all males over eight days old (NEVER FEMALES) and every time a circumcised Jew sees his circumcised member, he is to know that he is special, a descendant of Abraham, a miracle baby, set apart, under a special covenant with God.

Jesus was a Jew. Jesus was descended from Abraham through Sarah. Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day.

Abraham became a Jew at age 99. Jesus was born a Jew.

I'm so thankful God uses flawed, old people. I'm so glad God repeats Himself. I am so glad God gives us these stories that never get old, this hope, and these promises.

Next, in Genesis 18 comes one of my favorite stories. But, we will leave that for tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Double Flyby Tonight !

This site helps you plug in your zip code so you can see if there is a fly by of the ISS or Shuttle tonight. The passes on Sunday night and last night were so big and bright in the DFW area. Tonight, we get a double one because the shuttle undocked today. Look West at 935pm and watch the bright star (that does not wink) cross overhead. No clouds, so far, so it oughta be a good one.

If you have any trouble, go to and they have an article and link to help you out.

Check out the Snow at Old Faithful in June !!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008



Lev22:21 And when a man offers a sacrifice of peace offerings to the LORD to fulfill a special vow, or for a freewill offering, of the herd or of the flock, it must be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no defect in it.

Nothing blind, fractured, maimed, nothing with running sores, nor eczema, nor scabs, nothing with testicles bruised or crushed or torn or cut,

(whoo-hoo---a Scrabble word for the pesky Z: eczema)

Vs25: nor shall you accept any such from the hand of a foreigner for offering as the food of your God; for their corruption is in them, they have a defect, they shall not be accepted for you.

Our God: Deu32 The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He.

I Chronicles 12:38 All these, being men of war, who could draw up in battle formation, came to Hebron with a perfect heart, to make David king over all Israel; and all the rest also of Israel were of one mind to make David king.

29:19 and give to my son Solomon a perfect heart to keep Thy commandments, Thy testimonies, and Thy statutes, and to do them all and to build the temple, for which I have made provision. …and the Lord highly exhalted Solomon in the sight of all Israel…

Dear Heavenly Father, Only You can protect President Bush and his family. Only you can direct him, and exhalt him. Only you can protect him from the lawyers and judges and House, and only You can give him peace and security once he retires. Please give him courage to limit spending, support the military, and face down terrorists. Your Will be done. In Jesus name, amen.

Job 35 Elihu: Wait for me a little, and I will show you That there is yet more to be said in God’s behalf. I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and I will ascribe righteousness to my Maker. For truly my words are not false, One who is perfect in knowledge is with you. Behold, God is mighty but does not despise any; He is mighty in strength of understanding. He does not keep the wicked alive, but gives justice to the afflicted. He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous, but with kings on the throne He has seated them forever, and they are exalted. …

So, in Job, was God giving a hint as to how to use the horse in battle? Or had the horse been used that way already pre-Job??

Psalm 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul, the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

Please put in the hearts of my sons a desire to hear, read, know YOUR WORD on their own. And please give Ben assurance that YOU are in control, of history, of populations, of weather, of rulers.

Vs 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

Jesus said: Matt. 5:48 Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to every many among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think, but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

I Corinthians 13 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all the mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous, love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly, it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account of a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; LOVE bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails, but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away, if there are tongues, they will cease, if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when the PERFECT come, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child, when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face, now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. Pursue love…but let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner.

Phil 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus…and this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Phil. 3:12-15 Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet, but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude, and if in anything you have a different attitude, god will reveal that also to you, however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained. Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.

Join…observe…press on…

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His Glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. …so stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.

Live in harmony in the Lord.

Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I will say, rejoice!

Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. …practice these things, and the God of peace shall be with you.

Col. 3:14 And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body, and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Col 4:12 E. prayed …that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.

I Timothy 1:16 (pray with me) me, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

Why look at all the verses with “perfect” in them? (Quickverse has 45 in 43 verses) Trying to grapple with the concept of perfection, and how did Jesus, being perfect, live among us and not sin? How did Jesus stay perfect surrounded by such sinners? How did He not react? How does He desire us to react to the sinners around us? He sets the standard HIGH, yet gives us the desire and the power. Where is the balance in loving with discernment, yet loving as Christ commands.

I John 4:14- And we have beheld and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar, for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

All the uses of “perfect” in Hebrews, does it mean, “complete”? And I should have put the star behind the word, “perfect” thusly, perfect* in order to catch all the perfected words, too. Guess I am not perfect (insert snort).

Monday, June 9, 2008


Sheets are changed. Washer and dryer humming on their section "heavy duty" load which takes two hours each.

NASA TV online is back up. Wonder what happened? (they were offline from 4pm until 9am this morning)

Sparrows are peering in the window by the birdfeeder.

Lunch with Mary. Yarn is on sale at Michael's.

Suppose to rain later. Maybe we will see Ben? One can hope.

We are out of bread and fruit. I can't put off a trip to the grocery store another day. Sunday afternoon we were so lazy, taking a nap, and playing Scrabble. James called before church, and then in the evening when we were watching a Madea dvd.

4pm update: Ben did drop by at noon ! He said they had a concrete pour of footings in Weatherford this morning, and with clouds rolling in, he gets the after noon off. I had no bread---could not even offer him a sandwich. But, it was good to see him, and give him the sack-o-stuff I had been collecting. (t-shirts, cookies, etc.)

And I finally made it by Kroger for lettuce, apples, bananas, bread, and coffeemate liquid for Bob (french vanilla flavor is his fav)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Phone Calls

I just love it when we get phone calls and there is screaming in the background. We are grandparents, and any background noise is wonderful, from cries of glee to wails of distress and unfairness. We just can't get enough.

And the phone call a couple of days ago where firstborn described the drama that is mealtime with our now eighteen-month old grandchild was amazing to hear. This grandchild no longer likes the high chair. It is the fanciest high chair I have ever seen, but too constricting for our grandchild, I guess. Firstborn son actually used the phrase, "and if the stars are properly aligned..." then it is a good dinner. Grandbaby likes "I do it". I don't know where the grandchild gets this independence, this drama, this drive and living life big. But, it sounds like this grandchild fills their waking hours with entertainment.

When I ask, "How is ________?" Firstborn answers, "being cute" or "being very cute" depending on whether the grandchild is awake or sleeping.

Phone calls from middle son regale us about his day, give us a glimpse of his new life.

Phone calls from the youngest son---well, he is busy. His phone calls are usually text messages. And I am thankful for those.

Phone calls from my dear husband tell me that I have thirty minutes to set out dinner if he is in Fort Worth, but an hour and twenty if he is commuting by train home from Dallas.

The grandchild speaks with such confident gibberish. Just like the Dad used to do at that age as he thought we were making up words, so he made up words, too. Too cute.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hi, James !!!

Hi, James !!! It is so fun hearing about your day. Thank you for keeping in touch with your old mom and dad.

The Patton Museum had more than General Patton, eh? Cultural awareness. What will they think of next?

And I am glad to hear that you are being thorough rather than fast.

Dad and I watched AKEELAH and the BEE tonight on dvd. Good movie. Good story. Found it at Walmart.

Tomorrow you will miss mowing, and giving Dad a haircut. And vacuuming up Sallycat's hair. Man-o-man is she shedding.

Both Mary K. and Aunt Sally have had Ben sightings.

No diploma in the mail yet, but we did get an invite to buy a diploma frame. Were you able to check on line about it? I'd be glad to pick it up for you, if they let me. Or, you can get it when you are home in July.

Time for bed here. Love, mom

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Captions

I was in a hurry, and should have waited for the computer expert at our house to download the pictures. But, here are the captions. For those who could not attend because of distance and obligations:

Starting at the bottom
1. See how the bride and groom stood at the back of the stage, and Uncle Joel to our right? And see the groom's endearing head tilt?
2. Bob and not his twin sisters. (two of the triplets)
3. Getting ready to cut the cake
4. She was kind.
5. Isaiah declared the punch "hot" because it was carbonated. Too cute. He has his grandpa's wirey, curly hair.
6. sisters
7. (Top) Now its official.

Pictures to Hold You Over Until Better Ones Arrive

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Where have we been?

Thursday afternoon, we drove from downtown Dallas to Jackson, Mississippi. And on Friday, we drove from Jackson across the pine forests of Mississippi, Alabama and into Georgia. On Friday night, we visited with good friends and ate fantastic steak and Bob rudely beat everyone at Scrabble. (Note to self: pack our own Scrabble board and Scrabble Dictionary, and Scrabble two-word helps book for the next vacation) Our gracious hosts had an old board, and our fancier version has a turntable and slots that hold the tiles when you jiggle the board.

We drove into Newnan, Georgia on Saturday morning and lo and behold, right behind our hotel was a Toyota dealership and we were just thirty miles on the odometer from needing that fifteen-thousand oil change. I am still amazed at that timing and positioning.

And we noticed a Chick-fill-you-up place across the street. It looked brand new, but it had NO playground. Instead, it had this small house on the front with the non-politically correct name: DWARF HOUSE. Being too curious and nosy, I asked the worker in the middle of this huge eating establishment if that little house was for kids' parties or what? He laughed, and said, no, its in honor of the original founder's first eating establishments that were named, "Dwarf House" and we found out that THIS Chick-fil-eh was a full service SIT DOWN type place with menus and much, much more than just chicken. My husband, Bob had to hear it from this gentleman himself, as he would not believe what I had heard with my own two ears. I wish I'd had the camera at the ready when the patient worker explained, that, yes, they served steak, ham, and much, much more than just chicken. Bob's "REALLY???" and incredulous expression was priceless. We had time before the nephew's wedding to fortify ourselves, and almost wept with glee to eat on real china and use real metal forks and spoons and to be waited on by a real live person who brought the food to our table. Hog heaven.

The wedding, in this beautiful old town of Newnan, Georgia was so fun. Fun for us, as we had no role except to sit on the groom's side as aunt and uncle. This nephew actually attended our wedding thirty years ago, and we reminded him how well behaved he was at our wedding seeing as how he was not actually BORN until two months later.

Our six-foot-six nephew has a beautiful singing voice, and sang to his bride. Too cool. And he tilts his head in a most endearing way. After seeing the bride in person for the first time from the second row of honor, and through tears, and in this very starring role, we enjoyed hearing Bob's oldest brother who is a pastor and prof at a Bible college, give the sermon and administer the vows even as he did at OUR wedding thirty years ago. Bob's brother has ramped up the vows and included a "curse" from Laben and Jacob's exchange in Genesis. Whoa. Bob's niece was sitting beside us, and she leaned over and said that each of the married siblings had received this "curse" of 'God do to me, and more' if I break these vows.

The wedding was beautiful, and the decorations were beautiful, and the bride and groom were positioned in front of us, with the pastor to the side so we could see. They voiced their "I DOs" loudly and with confidence. And then proceeded down the aisle after the first kiss. Then there was this cool power point slide show of them as young adults entering mission training, and how they met, and their plans to continue mission training. Then the bride and groom came BACK DOWN THE AISLE and dismissed each row with a greeting and a hug! I got to shake the bride's hand! Wow. Her dear MOMMA had greeted us as entered the church. Somebody had told her about us, and she said something about reading our blog. Oh, my. What a gracious lady. So friendly and sweet on a day when she was losing her first daughter. Losing a daughter but gaining a son.

It was fun visiting with lots of my husband, Bob's relatives. Some, we were meeting for the first time, as we had not been able to attend the youngest niece's wedding and her little boy has his grandpa's full head of curly hair. (unlike my boys who, more like me, had no hair until they were two years old)

After the wedding, we went back to the hotel and Bob again trounced everyone at Scrabble after dinner at this fancy Canadian moose place. Bug-a-Boo Creek. Tasty salmon. I figured if anyone can "do" salmon, the Canadians can !!!

Then up we rose on Sunday morning for the short, six hour trip to see second lieutenant James at Fort Knox. What fun. We arrived just as James was "getting off work" and I realized I had never heard him use that phrase before. Usually, James tells me he is getting out of class or is "done with lab" and the phrase "getting off work" was amazing unto me.

James is enjoying his work of repelling off a fifty foot tower. When we talked to him yesterday on the trip home to let him know we had made it back to Texas, he said their working with a group of junior rotc cadets was fun. The junior rotc cadets were petrified, and James said he was able to help them concentrate on depending on the equipment and focusing on his calming face. How cool. To go from being nervous himself to confident, and then be able to turn and help others---how cool is that??!! Nothing better, I'm sure.

So, we are back. After having crossed many rivers, and seen many vistas. Thanks to the blooming Mimosa TREES (not the drink, for all you young people) we had a colorful drive. And the prettied-up first mile of a new state complete with wildflowers and clean rest rooms, made it memorable, too.

I enjoyed driving one route, but coming home another, like in a big circle. Anything to avoid Little Rock. (I have seen that a lot on our past few vacations and was ready for a change).

One note about the town of Burbon, Missouri---the huge letters on your water tower made me wonder if the water tower was full of burbon. That is a lot of burbon. Now I am wondering if there is a Burbon school district. And all the jokes that would accompany having such a name emblazoned on your cap and jacket.

And our near-movie moment: When Chevy Chase drives downtown St. Louis in the VACATION movie, he mistakenly goes down the wrong exit near the Arch...we re-enacted that scene at midnight, very bleary-eyed, and while the lighted Arch was pretty reflected off the water, Bob thankfully did NOT take the wrong exit, so we stayed safe. I think Bob wanted to avoid downtown St. Louis by using the loop, but he had missed that exit, which found us dangerously close to downtown, and all I could think of was how Chevy Chase lost all his hubcaps in a very ugly section of town.

My glasses broke. Time to reduce this font and "publish" and make corrections later. Ha. Laundry is a-calling. Good thing I took some knitted dishrags I had made. I gave away a few, and kept busy in the car knitting more. Bob's brother's mother-in-law has an insatiable appetite for the dishrags, so she took all I had made, and scarfed up any I knitted in her presence. I am glad she likes them. Four more knitted for my friend in Ennis on the drive home. The car's door bins are just right to hold skeins of cotton yarn. (Canadian Sugar 'n Cream, and made-in-the USA Peaches & Cream)