Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lent & Giving Up

Joel 2:12-19 ESV

Return to the LORD
12 "Yet even now," declares the LORD,
"return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13 and rend your hearts and not your garments."
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster.
14 Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a grain offering and a drink offering
for the LORD your God?
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion;
consecrate a fast;
call a solemn assembly;
16 gather the people.
Consecrate the congregation;
assemble the elders;
gather the children,
even nursing infants.
Let the bridegroom leave his room,
and the bride her chamber.
17 Between the vestibule and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep
and say, "Spare your people, O LORD,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
'Where is their God?'"

The LORD Had Pity
18 Then the LORD became jealous for his land
and had pity on his people.
19 The LORD answered and said to his people,"Behold,I am sending to you
grain, wine, and oil,
and you will be satisfied;
and I will no more make you
a reproach among the nations.

Lent began today. Lent is the time of 40 days before Easter. Akin to Jesus' forty days in the desert in (Matthew 4), before He began His public ministry. Another parallel is the forty years the Israelites spent in the wilderness in (Numbers 14).A time for Christians to ponder our mortality and our need for a savior.

Many people "give up" something for Lent as a way to remind themselves of what sufferings Christ endured for us.

I think I gave up something only once in my life. When I was in 7th grade, I decided I was going to show Jesus how much I loved Him by giving up donuts. All I can remember now is that at the end of the service the very first Sunday after Ash Wednesday, I was beside myself with grief. I had already broken my promise! After church my mom and Mrs. W. did their best to console me. But, I could not/would not be forgiven. I was so sure that I would never be "good enough" for Jesus. Little did I understand that I did not have to give up something to prove my love.

Giving up ought to be a means of learning to discipline ourselves. An example might be to give up a meal, once a day or once a week, so that we have time to devote to prayers or the study of God's Word. Or so that the money we save from eating less may be given to the poor and needy.

Although I understand Lent a tad better than I did when I was in junior high school, I still lack the discipline to give up something. This year, however, my mother has cancer. The doctors have given her X amount of time to live. Thus, I yearn to see my mother spend her final days on Earth with as little pain and strife as possible. Knowing that she is a baptized and believing child of God, I do not fear the death that is sure to come sooner than I expected it might, though I definitely will mourn. However, for her sake, I will "give up" time each day to pray that she will know that her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will pour His grace and mercy on her "for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love."

This Lent it looks like God will be preparing me (and all of my family) to give up our mother and grandmother. Soon she will return to the Lord her God.

(This is going to be hard.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Blogging Madness

I don't know what I'm doing! Last night I added some music. As you can see part of the display gets lost on the right side of the page, so you can't turn the volume down.

At the bottom of the page I added a little free MP3 gadget. Trying to listen to that one is impossible because my other music is blasting away at the same time!

Yet again another example of how I go about doing something before I really know what I'm doing. Good grief!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Doing Things the Wrong Way: Part 1

It dawned on me the other day how many times I've totally screwed things up because I went ahead and did it just so it got done. I mean, it doesn't really matter if it's done properly, right? Much more important is that it gets done at all! Here are examples of things I have flubbed at and will never do again.

A Few Stories of My Early Years of Cooking for My Husband

Curry Rice:
Anata: This curry has no flavor.
Raggedy: Yeah, should I add more curry powder?
A: I think it needs more salt.
R: Okay. (Adds a teaspoon of salt to the pot.)
A: I think it needs more.
R: More? Okay. (Adds a tablespoon.)
A: This still tastes bland.
R: You want more? (In a huffy tone.) [Thinking to self: I'll give you more!] (Adds half a cup to the pot.) How's this?!?!
A: What are you trying to feed me? The ocean!

Fileting a Fish:
R: This recipe says I have to sanmaioroshi the fish before I fry it. What does sanmaioroshi mean?
A: Cut it in three parts.
R: ? (Does the operation, but thinks it's not quite the way it's supposed to be.) I don't think this is right. I've never seen anything like this served in any restaurants.
A: Why did you cut it that way? I said cut it in three parts!
R: It's in three parts. The head, the middle and the tail.
A: It's supposed to be the left side, the right side and the bones!
R: Oh. Why didn't you say so?
A: I did!

A: This is a great fire! And we've got sausage and cheese to go with the bread!
R: (Slices the sausage and put the slices on the wire rack to cook over the little campfire.) ? Hmmm, oh well.
A: (Puts the first slice in mouth and grimaces. Then tongues starts working to untangle the morsel in mouth.) What on earth is this?
R: Ew. I don't know. It looks like plastic.
A: Hey! It's the sausage casing! Why didn't you take it off before you cooked it?
R: I took off the packaging, of course, but I didn't even know there was another film of plastic around it. I'm sorry. [Thinks to self: Will I never learn?]

Some things get learned the hard way. I think you'll agree that it's better to know the way something should be done before doing it than vice versa!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

You Give Back the Trademark That We Didn't Want Anymore Anyway and Don't Say Anything Negative About Us or We'll Have to Sue You

Just when I was thinking I should blog about a radio program that I canNOT live without (I probably can, but hope not to), and I was going to share how good the host and producer are at their work, and I was thinking of how devastated I was in March 2008 (that's 11 months ago) when the show suddenly disappeared, and I wanted to let my friends and family in on what has happened since then - a new fiasco has developed!

To make a long story short, Issues, Etc. is a Christian program that strives to "equip the saints of all believers" and deals with current issues "for the thinking Christian." It used to be part of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod's radio station. For some reason it was suddenly yanked off the air last year on Holy Tuesday. (March 18, 2008, the Tuesday before Easter) Many listeners sought for answers, contacting the radio station and LCMS Synod headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, only to be told that the show was taken off the air for programmatic reasons. Along with the rude dismissal of Pastor Todd Wilken (host) and Jeff Schwarz (producer), all of their archived materials were removed from the KFUO radio's website. It was as if they (LCMS, Inc.) didn't want to have any record that such a program ever even existed.

In June, the program was resurrected, and is now broadcasting on its own. However, Pastor Wilken and Jeff Schwarz are being threatened with a lawsuit. For a more comprehensive understanding of the happenings, you can go to Brothers of John the Steadfast or read "An Open Letter to the LCMS Board of Directors" and "Kieschnick's Contradictory Statements" at Extreme Theology

A good condensed explanation at Stand Firm along with a request to sign a petition for any legal actions to be dropped.

I don't normally get political or sign petitions, but in this case President Gerald Kieschnick and the Board of Directors have made it pretty clear that they would like to silence these two men. All I can think to ask is the Lutheran question, "What does this mean?"

And if you have never heard one of their programs yet, here's a sample.
Vocation: God's Will for Your Life
Guest: Dr. Steven Hein of the Concordia Institute for Christian Studies

Please add your name to the End the Issues,, Etc. Trademark Dispute Petition! And become an On Demand Listener, too. They love their On Demand listeners!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Humans Have Weather Rights!?

Something tells me that the States have an inclination to come to the rescue?

UN Report: Extreme Weather Violates Human Rights
by UN Watch- at February 12, 2009 in High Commissioner of Human Rights and Human Rights Council.
A/HRC/10/61, 15 January 2009

Report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the relationship between climate change and human rights: the right to self-determination.

40. Sea level rise and extreme weather events related to climate change are threatening the habitability and, in the longer term, the territorial existence of a number of low-lying island States. Equally, changes in the climate threaten to deprive indigenous peoples of their traditional territories and sources of livelihood. Either of these impacts would have implications for the right to self-determination.

41. The inundation and disappearance of small island States would have implications for the right to self-determination, as well as for the full range of human rights for which individuals depend on the State for their protection. The disappearance of a State for climate change-related reasons would give rise to a range of legal questions, including concerning the status of people inhabiting such disappearing territories and the protection afforded to them under international law (discussed further below). While there is no clear precedence to follow, it is clear that insofar as climate change poses a threat to the right of peoples to self-determination, States have a duty to take positive action, individually and jointly, to address and avert this threat. Equally, States have an obligation to take action to avert climate change impacts which threaten the cultural and social identity of indigenous peoples.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

More than Enough!

In my Treasury of Daily Prayer, the New Testament reading for yesterday was about Jesus and the Woman of Samaria at the well. He told her, "The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4: 15) Below is the writing along with it with parts in bold that impressed me with how generous our Lord and Savior is.

But if we do want to boast, then let us boast that we receive from the fullness of Christ, that we are enlightened by Him, attain forgiveness of sin, and become children of God through Him. For this is the sum and substance of it all: Whoever wishes to be safe guarded from the devil's might and to escape sin and death must draw from this well, Christ; from Him flows all salvation and eternal bliss. This fountain is inexhaustible; it is full of grace and truth before God; it never fails no matter how much we draw from it. Even if we all dip from it without stopping, it cannot be emptied, but it remains a perennnial fount of all frace and trugh, and unfathomable well, an eternal fountain. The more we draw from it, the more it gives. Such water, as St. John remarks later, wells up to eternal life. (John 4:1-4).

The sun is not dimmed and darkened by shining on so many people or by providing the entire wold with its light and bright splendor. It retains its light intact. It loses nothing; it is immeasurable, perhaps able to illumine ten more worlds. I suppose that a hundred thousand candles can be ignited from one light, and still this light will not lose any of its brilliance. Likewise, a learned man can educate a thousand scholars without forfeiting any of his own learning. The more he shares with others, the more he has himself. Thus Christ, our Lord, to whom we must flee and of whom we must ask all, is an interminable well, the chief course of all grace, truth, righteousness, wisdom, and life, without limit, measure, or end. Even if the whole world were to draw from this fountain enough grace and truth to transform all people into angels, still it would not lose as much as a drop. This fountain constantly overflows with sheer grace. Whoever wishes to enjoy Christ's grace -and no one is excluded- let him come and receive it from Him. You will never drain this fountain of living water, it will never run dry. You will all draw from it much more than enough, and yet it will remain a perennial well.

~from Martin Luther's sermons on the Gospel of St. John, p. 134 in vol. 22 of Luther's Works, American Edition

Friday, February 6, 2009

Entrance Exams are Two-Thirds Over

Makoto's results came today. One acceptance. Good work, Son! Only one more month and one more test to go now.