Saturday, December 27, 2008

Composting & Global Warming

Why do I get into a dreaming-about-next-year's-garden mode in late December? Maybe I'm thinking of plans for the new year. But, now I'm wondering....

Over here
, I read, "Composting with worms can help to limit global warming and climate change as well as improve soil."

And over here
, it says, "Everybody loves worms because they think they can do no harm but they contribute to global warming."

There's a Yiddish proverb that goes: Worms eat you up dead and worries eat you up alive. That comment sounds the most accurate to me right now!

When it snows, she has no fear.....

We're having a terrific snowfall. It just keeps on coming down, and it is beautiful. I took a picture of my kids shoveling the driveway. I guess I'll have to add it on here later since my cell phone connection wasn't strong enough to send it to my computer successfully. Anyway, I got a chuckle out of watching them. One had her umbrella up while trying to brush snow off the car. Another was using a wild-looking bamboo broom. A fleeting moment when you think..."only in Japan!"

Then verses in the Bible about snow started coming to me, and this one from Proverbs about the exemplary wife/manager of house and home (which usually gets me all depressed) came to me with a brand new imagery. (Dear Lutherans who may be reading this, please correct me if I'm wrong to read this verse this way!)

Proverbs 31: 21
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet

As the cold, the winds and the snow increase, I can be confident that Christ's shedding his scarlet blood as a covering for my family. I need not fear (as I daily do) that they are not clothed in Christ. They have been baptized.

My prayer for today is that I not shrink from teaching them and proclaiming the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, so that they will know and trust that "all of them are clothed in scarlet."

Dr. Roy Spencer's New Global Warming Website

Dedicated to keeping people informed of his latest research, and of his views on the escalating hysteria over manmade global warming.

No matter what weather event happens these days, someone is bound to blame it on manmade global warming. Snow in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, early cold across the U.S....anything and everything is now evidence that humans have screwed up the weather. Thom Hartmann on Air America recently used some convoluted logic to explain how global warming causes more cold and snow.

The truth is that unusual weather has always been...well...normal. It is perfectly normal for records to be set for cold, heat, rain, drought, etc. Since most locations have records extending back less than 100 years, it can be expected that they will, on occasion, experience some weather event that they had not experienced before.

So, how do climate experts know that unusual weather now is a sign of global warming? They don't.

I used to ice skate on nearby ponds or lakes when I was a little girl. I'm looking forward to knowing if this winter, there might be more ice skating outdoors back "home." Some people might be looking to go ice fishing on Lake Superior even!
For the first time in years, western part of Lake Superior freezes over
This is the most ice I’ve seen in December in years. … I wouldn’t go out yet, but if it stays cold and we don’t get a big wind, people will be out there fishing soon.

It's snowing here in northern Japan, too. And it's windy, windy, windy tonight. Time to go get under the covers!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What's This One on the Shopping List?

My son needs some clothes. You know, he's really trying his best to speak English more these days. But sometimes there are loan words that have entered the Japanese language, and when you try to put them back into what you think is the original language amusing things come out.

Today's amusing word was total-neck sweater. I don't know, but that might work just as well as turtleneck, don't you think?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Zakaria Botros is WORLD's 2008 Daniel of the Year

He can keep calm in the midst of emotional shouting matches.

One recent episode of Truth Talk, aired Nov. 21, cut to 20 separate clips, most of Cairo's respected Al-Azhar University Sheikh Khaled El-Gendy, to debate the age of Aisha when she became Muhammad's second wife...

In one clip El-Gendy argues that "the Quran is enough" and the hadiths on Aisha aren't needed. Another scholar cites a recent magazine article claiming she was a teenage wife. As Islamic authorities shout at one another onscreen, Botros calmly asks, "Are these holy books or not?" "If you are explaining her age based on a magazine article, what's your reference?"

He can make honest accusations and ask substantial questions directly.
In another recent episode titled "Was Muhammad a messenger from God or Satan?" Botros recites the characteristics of a false prophet by Sunni scholar Ibn Taymiyya, then lays down his book, looks into the screen, and says each of the characteristics cited by Taymiyya apply to Muhammad. He quotes Matthew 7 and asks viewers, "Does this sound like a real prophet to you? Remember: 'Ye shall know them by their fruits.'"

He is confident that there is no need to fear.
"Fear? I fear nothing," says Botros. "My dictionary does not contain the word fear. I believe in God and I believe that the epistle of Ephesians says we are created in Jesus Christ for a plan, which was engaged from the early beginning. No one can cut it, and when it is completed no one can continue it."

God Bless Father Zakaria Botros!
Read more...!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Little Christmas Music

My dad grew up in the Roman Catholic church, and he attended parochial schools all his life. I think he would get a kick out of the Nun's Hallelujah Chorus if he were still here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Nozomi Got In!

Today she got the results of her interview to college. She was accepted! What a happy day in our house.

Now, she can help her little brother study better for his high school entrance exams.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

From Pink to Green & Meet My Lamby

There she is! (Way up at the top of the page!) My very first toy. Everyone I know thinks she's gross. She certainly has been through an awful lot. Almost as much as I have! But she is mine, and I love her in spite/because of how raggedy she is. I like to think I'm like her, in that, as raggedy as I am, Jesus calls me His own. I am Jesus' little lamb.

"I Am Jesus' Little Lamb"
by Henrietta L. von Hayn, 1724-1782

1. I am Jesus' little lamb,
Ever glad at heart I am;
For my Shepherd gently guides me,
Knows my need, and well provides me,
Loves me every day the same,
Even calls me by my name.

2. Day by day, at home, away,
Jesus is my Staff and Stay.
When I hunger, Jesus feeds me,
Into pleasant pastures leads me;
When I thirst, He bids me go
Where the quiet waters flow.

3. Who so happy as I am,
Even now the Shepherd's lamb?
And when my short life is ended,
By His angel host attended,
He shall fold me to His breast,
There within His arms to rest.

Hymn #648
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: John 21:15
Author: Henriette L. von Hayn, 1778
Translated by: composite
Titled: "Weil ich Jesu Schaeflein bin"
1st Published in: Brueder Choral-Buch, 1784
Tune: "Weil ich Jesu Schaeflein bin"

So, now you know where I got the name for my little blog.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Maybe This is Too Much Pink!

I've been playing around with my little blog the past - Oh, my! - 2 hours. I was going to grade papers!

Well, I did figure out how to move things around. Still so much more to learn, but it's not as scary as it was when I first started. I am starting to get tired of all the pink, though! Once I get around to posting photos and embedding audio and video clips, then I'll see about another template.

Enough Friday night fun! To my bath and bed I must go. Tomorrow lots of errands to do!

The Tenth Commandment

The Tenth Commandment
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his cattle, nor anything that is his.
What does this mean?--Answer.
We should fear and love God that we may not estrange, force, or entice away our neighbor's wife, servants, or cattle, but urge them to stay and [diligently] do their duty.

問い これはどういう意味ですか。
答え 私たちは神を畏れ、愛さなければなりません。ですから、私たちは隣人の牛を放したり、雇い人を奪ったり、妻を誘惑したりしてはいけません。そうではなくて、彼らが隣人のところにとどまりつづけ、それぞれの義務を果たすようにしなければなりません。

The Ninth Commandment

The Ninth Commandment
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house.
What does this mean?--Answer.
We should fear and love God that we may not craftily seek to get our neighbor's inheritance or house, and obtain it by a show of [justice and] right, etc., but help and be of service to him in keeping it.

問い これはどういう意味ですか。
答え 私たちは神を畏れ、愛さなければなりません。ですから、私たちは隣人をだまして遺産や家を奪おうとしたり、自分に権利があるような振る舞いをして奪い取ろうとしたりしてはなりません。そうではなくて、隣人が財産を保ち、さらに増し加えられるように手助けをすべきです。

The Eighth Commandment

The Eighth Commandment
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
What does this mean?--Answer.
We should fear and love God that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, or defame our neighbor, but defend him, [think and] speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything.

問い これはどういう意味ですか。
答え 私たちは神を畏れ、愛さなければなりません。ですから、私たちは嘘をついたり、裏切ったり、名誉を毀損したり、隣人の評判を落としたりして欺いてはなりません。そうではなくて、むしろ隣人について弁護し、隣人に関して良いことを言い、隣人がなすことの良い面を見るようにしなければなりません。

The Seventh Commandment

The Seventh Commandment
Thou shalt not steal.
What does this mean?--Answer.
We should fear and love God that we may not take our neighbor's money or property, nor get them by false ware or dealing, but help him to improve and protect his property and business [that his means are preserved and his condition is improved].

問い これはどういう意味ですか。
答え 私たちは神を畏れ、愛さなければなりません。ですから、私たちは隣人のお金や所有物を奪ったり、詐欺によって得たり、貧弱に作られたものを売りつけたりしてはいけません。そうではなくて、隣人が財産や経歴を増し加えたり、守ったりできるように手助けしなければなりません。

The Sixth Commandment

The Sixth Commandment
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
What does this mean?--Answer.
We should fear and love God that we may lead a chaste and decent life in words and deeds, and each love and honor his spouse.

問い これはどういう意味ですか。
答え 私たちは神を畏れ、愛さなければなりません。ですから、私たちは言葉においても行いにおいても、きよくあり、つつましやかでなければなりません。そして自分の配偶者を愛し敬うべきです。

The Fifth Commandment

The Fifth Commandment
Thou shalt not kill.
What does this mean?--Answer.
We should fear and love God that we may not hurt nor harm our neighbor in his body, but help and befriend him in every bodily need [in every need and danger of life and body].

問い これはどういう意味ですか。
答え 私たちは神を畏れ、愛さなければなりません。ですから、私たちは隣人の体に害を与えたり、傷つけたりしてはいけません。そうではなくて、病気のときに隣人を助け、看病してあげるのです。

The Fourth Commandment

The Fourth Commandment
Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother [that it may be well with thee and thou mayest live long upon the earth].
What does this mean?--Answer.
We should fear and love God that we may not despise nor anger our parents and masters, but give them honor, serve, obey, and hold them in love and esteem.

問い これはどういう意味ですか。
答え 私たちは神を畏れ、愛さなければなりません。ですから、両親や目上の人を馬鹿にしたり、わずらわせたりしてはいけません。そうではなくて、両親や目上の人を敬い、仕え、従い、愛し、大切な存在として扱いなさい、という意味です。

The Third Commandment

The Third Commandment
Thou shalt sanctify the holy-day.

What does this mean?
We should fear and love God that we may not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred, and gladly hear and learn it.


問い これはどういう意味ですか。
答え 私たちは神を畏れ、愛さなければなりません。ですから、説教や神の御言葉を軽視してはいけません。そうではなく、神の言葉を聖なるものと考え、喜んで自分から耳を傾け、それを学びなさい、という意味です。

The Second Commandment

The Second Commandment
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God that we may not curse, swear, use witchcraft, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.

問い これはどういう意味ですか。
答え 私たちは神を畏れ、愛さなければなりません。ですから、神の御名を用いて呪ったり、誓ったり、呪文を唱えたり、嘘をついたり欺いたりしてはなりません。そうではなく、神を求め、神に祈り、神を賛美し、いかなる困難なときにおいても神に感謝するために、神の御名を用いなさい、という意味です。

The First Commandment

The First Commandment.
Thou shalt have no other gods.
What does this mean?
We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

問い これはどういう意味ですか。
答え 私たちは他の何よりも唯一の神を畏れ、愛し、信頼しなければならないということです。

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Something I Wish I Had Done a Long Time Ago: Memorizing Luther's Small Catechism

Even though I was raised a Lutheran, and I've read the Lutheran confessions, in the past year or so it dawned on me that there is a treasure trove of wisdom that I have let just sit by the wayside. Perhaps it's because I now have no confessional liturgical worship service in my area to go to that this longing to know the Lutheran teachings better is getting stronger. It could also be that I've looked into enough other doctrines, and the Lutheran one is the one I think is the most reasonable. And, see how much credit I give myself. It is most definitely the Holy Spirit dragging me to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Well, part of my daily devotions includes the reading and praying of Luther's Small Catechism. I have only read it and studied it. However, because my parents left the then Lutheran Church in America (pre-Evangelical Lutheran Church of America)when I was in high school, my younger sisters were required to memorize it when they were confirmed. I remember being amazed and very jealous that they had mastered the entire catechism!

So, this post is my attempt to introduce the Small Catechism to my own family, and because we use both English and Japanese, each day I will post both languages. (So, if my page comes out in gobblety-gook to any readers who take a peek, that's the reason!) I hope to put both to memory.

Luther's Small Catechism has Six Chief Parts. The first part is The Ten Commandments. Most people think of these as rules to keep on God's good side. If we do these things, we'll make God happy and we'll have a good life. However, Scripture tell us that the reason for God's giving us His Law, is to show us our sin. In Galations 3 we read:

The Law and the Promise
15Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ. 17What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.
19What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. 20A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.

21Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

23Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

Many consider The Ten Commandments as prohibitions. They think that God merely enjoys bossing humans about and forbidding them to do many things. But Luther goes into this with much more in mind than God's restricting our behavior. According to "All Theology Is Christology" How Does Every Passage of Scripture Reveal Christ? by David P. Scaer,
The strength of Luther's explanations of the Ten Commandments is not focusing on the negative behaviors forbidden to the Christian (hurting the neighbor), but on the good he is required to do: "help ... him in every bodily need." It is not a matter of refraining from gross idolatry; rather we should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

Next time, I'll start posting The Small Catechism, Section 1, The Ten Commandments.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Pastor Friend in the Philippines Needs Our Prayers

One of my friends, a pastor in the Philippines, a man who is steadfast to the Lutheran confessions, was taken to court last week, and he is now awaiting to be arrested and sent to jail. You can listen to an interview (click the title above) in which he tells what brought this all about. Please pray with me that God's will will be done through Pastor Seth's suffering for the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

May, I too, be willing to suffer whenever the Lord may call me to do so.

1 Peter 4 (NIV)
Suffering for Being a Christian
12Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And,
"If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?"[a]
19So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.